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FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, DOT Return to Duty Process, and the SAP Evaluation

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, DOT Return to Duty Process, and the SAP Evaluation
February 14, 2021

Why was a Clearinghouse Created?

In January 2020 the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched an internet based national clearinghouse database that all Commercial Drivers License (CDL) regulated drivers were supposed to have registered in, as well as all employers that that hire CDL drivers. The clearinghouse was created largely to function as a fast and reliable way for employers to get information on a prospective driver. Previous to the clearinghouse, employers had to contact the driver’s previous employer to check their record or see if there were any violations. This system was often time consuming, unreliable, or unavailable. The new clearinghouse is intended to help employers get information quickly so drivers can get hired faster.

When Would You get a Violation Recorded in the Clearinghouse?

Violations are posted and recorded in the clearinghouse any time there is a failed or refused urine drug screen or breath alcohol test. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires testing for pre-employment, post-accident, random, or reasonable suspicion tests. Any time a positive test results in a violation that driver must go through the Return to Duty Process and are suspended from using their CDL until all steps are completed.

What is Involved in the Return to Duty Process?

In order to get your CDL back in good standing, and have this recorded in the clearinghouse, a driver must complete the Return to Duty Process. There are three main steps to the return to duty process. First, the driver must obtain a chemical assessment from a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). Second, the driver must follow through and complete all recommendations made by the SAP. Third, the driver must produce a negative urine drug screen or breath alcohol test. Once a driver designates their SAP in the clearinghouse, the SAP will record completion of the assessment and recommendations as well as completion of the recommendations and readiness for the return to duty test. Once the driver goes to test, it the employer who record the negative test result in the clearinghouse. This will restore the CDL to good standing and allow the driver to return to work using their CDL.

How Long Does it Usually Take Before You Can Work Again?

At Innovative Psychological Consultants, we have Dr. Chris Anderson, Psy.D., LP, SAP who is a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) approved by the DOT to perform SAP evaluations and help drivers get through the Return to Duty Process. Dr. Anderson is committed to helping educate drivers and streamline the process. We are usually able to get drivers in to be seen within 1-3 days. If the driver is obtaining and providing all the needed information quickly, most drivers can be through the process in 1-2 weeks. The actual length it takes to be back to work again is mostly determined by the driver and how quickly and efficiently they accomplish all tasks.

If you want to schedule, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Anderson.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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Innovative Psychological Consultants

Peace of Mind You Deserve