FMCSA Clearinghouse for Owner Operators

2022 update – The FMCSA Clearinghouse is in effect for two years now and working as expected.  Many drivers who use illicit drugs are now off the roads. Learn much more about the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. 

Today’s short video is for owner operator truck drivers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. This is a new regulation that affects you. This is probably the biggest change in DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations in many years and it affects owner operators. And what I want to do today is tell you about how it affects you and what you need to do to stay in compliance.

If you’re not in compliance, you can face fines and penalties and possibly even an out of service notice. That’s not good. So here’s what you need. Do I have a laundry list here of the items? And the first thing is the federal government has a Web site for the FMCSA Clearinghouse that you can go to and you have to register as an employer on that Web site. It’s a simple process. You have to go through a couple of steps to register as an employer. Now, as you register, you will indicate that you are an owner operator driver, which means you will need to add your CDL number, the state of issue and your date of birth.

So now you’re registered…what’s next? While you’re in there, once you register, you want to purchase what’s called a query, and actually you should purchase at least two queries from the FMCSA clearinghouse website; they are $1.25 each, but they are required and you have to have some query credits on file so that if a query has to be run on you, the credits are available. So what’s a query? A query is checking the database to see if you have any previous history of a drug or alcohol test violation. And that has to be done on an annual basis. So as your TPA, National Drug Screening, who serves your account and operates the consortium that you’re in for random testing as your TPA, will run that annual query for you. But you have to be registered for us to run the query and you have to have had a query purchased at $1.25.

Now, if you’re a brand new owner operator just starting (beginning January 6, 2020), you actually need a pre-employment query also, so NDS can help you with that. We can run the query for you. But again, you have to have been registered and you have to have purchased at least one query for that pre-employment query. Now, if you have any positive drug tests, the medical review officer or MRO is going to report them up into the clearing house on your behalf. That’s automatic in the case of a positive drug test. If you have any positive alcohol tests or refusals to test National Drug Screening, as your TPA, is required to report those up into the clearinghouse. This means there will be a record of any drug and alcohol test violations and you have to get them cleared up by going to a substance abuse professional.

Now in the Clearinghouse, you’ll designate who is the substance abuse professional that you’re going to be using and that substance abuse professional (SAP) will report to the clearing house when you have your initial evaluation and when you have your follow up evaluation. This will probably never happen because I know you guys as owner operators don’t use drugs and don’t drink and drive; so you’re not going to have a violation. But if you do, there are certain things that are going to follow you around until that violation is cleared up.

Now, a couple of other things that have to be reported again, I mentioned alcohol positives. Also, actual knowledge, if there’s actual knowledge such as getting a DUI while operating a commercial motor vehicle, that’s actual knowledge of drug or alcohol use. And as your TPA National Drug Screening would have to report that up to the clearinghouse. So it’s important, of course, that you don’t have any violations.

To summarize, you have to register in the FMCSA clearinghouse;  when you register you’ll also input your driver information. You also want to designate National Drug Screening as your consortium, TPA or C/TPA. For owner operators you will want to purchase at least two in your first year, and then every year after that you’ll have to purchase at least one query. Now all of this went into effect January 6th of 2020.

So when’s the time to register? Right now. Beat the crowds. You have to do it online. You have to have your phone with you because there is an authentication process where you’ll get a code back to your phone. So do it now. If you need assistance, you can call us at National Drug Screening. Remember this is for our owner operator clients. This is for those that are a part of our National Drug Screening drug and alcohol testing consortium for owner operators. If you’re not one of those folks and you want to be, you can certainly contact us at 866-843-4545 or you can visit our Web site at

What are the responsibilities Owner Operators are required to comply with the FMCSA Clearinghouse beginning in 2020?
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