Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FMSCA Drug & Alcohol Clearing House?


On January 6, 2020, the FMCSA launched their new Drug & Alcohol Clearing House. In short, the Clearing House will act as a record keeping program to store DOT violation and substance abuse program progress. The idea behind this is to prevent drivers who have violations from being able to switch companies without completing a substance abuse program.




Why drivers should be tested for sleep apnea?


In our office, we use the following decision making tool to determine the drivers' risk for sleep apnea. Multiple risk factors are taken into consideration when referring for a sleep test. Sleep Apnea Testing




How does the FMSCA Drug & Alcohol Clearing House work?


Motor carriers are responsible for setting up a Clearing House account for their company. In this account, they can report drug and alchol testing violations, return to duty results, and follow-up plan information, as well as run queries. It is recommended that drivers set up a clearing house account as well, but it not initially required. C/TPAs also need to register in a clearing house account.




Can a motor carrier be allowed to drive with a current diagnosis of diabetes or insulin treated diabetes?


Yes, a motor carrier driver may drive with a diagnosis of diabetes or insulin treated diabetes if they follow the set FMCSA guidelines.

Call our office about the Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form. This MUST be completed prior to being examined in our office for your CDL. Next, the insulin treated diabetic driver will be examined in our office and certified by a medical examiner as physically qualified in accordance with 391.43 and as free of complications from diabetes mellitus that might impair his or her ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

The driver will nOT be physically qualified: If they are NOT maintaining a stable insulin regimen and NOT properly controlling his or her diabetes mellitus. If they have severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Driver will only be certified up to the maximum 12-month period. Driver must provide the treating examiner with at least the preceding 3 months of electronic blood glucose self-monitoring records. Driver who experiences a severe hypoglycemic episode after being certified as physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle, and must report such occurrence to and be ealuated by a treating clinician.




Are motor carriers responsible for reporting testing violations?


Yes, motor carriers are responsible for reporting testing violations, excluding verified positive, adulterated, or substituted DOT drug tests, and any MRO determined refusals to test (see 49 CFR 40.191 (a)(5), (7), (11), (b), and (d)(2). These violations include alcohol confirmation test results greater than or equal to 0.04, refusal to take an alcohol test (see 49 CFR 40.261), refusal to test (drug test) (see 49 CFR 40.191 (a)(1)-(4),(6), (8)-(11) or (d)(1). Other violations that need to be reported are on duty alcohol use SS382.205, pre-duty alcohol use SS382.207 and alcohol use following an accident SS382.209, and controlled substance use SS382.213.




Who is responsible for reporting return to duty and follow-up reporting?


Motor carriers are responsible for reporting negative return to duty test results, as well as when a driver successfully completes all follow-up testing prescribed by teh SAP in accordance with SS40.307, 40.309, and 40.311.




Can motor carriers receive queries?


Yes, queries can be purchased by the motor carrier. There are two query plans available - a per query plan and an unlimited plan. The per query plan is $1.25/queary, whereas the uniled is $24,500/year. The unlimited plan expires after 12 months of purchase and any queries purchased via the per query plan never expire. For the unlimited plan to be worthwhile investment, the company has to should run 19,600 queries per year.




Do drivers with diabetes need a vision exam?


Drivers with diabetes were required to have a yearly vision exam with an eye specialist which was reviewed by the medical examiner at the time of recertification. That is no longer a requirement for drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. It does not mean that a medical examiner cannot require an eye exam be performed before issuing a medical certificate if they deem necessary to determine the driver's driving status. At the same time, the Insulin Treated Diabetes Association form does not have to be completed by an endocrinologist. The form is to be completed and signed by the clinician treating the driver for their diabetes.




Is a driver with monovision disqualified?


The visual acuity standard is a measure of distant vision. Consider a driver who had lasix eye surgery which intentionally resulted in clear distant vision in one yer and clear near vision in the other eye. The problem always seems to be the near vision eye does not meet the 20/40 distant vision requirement. This would meet the definition of monovision. But is it any different than a driver that has one eye that meets the distant vision standard and one eye that could meet the vision standard with lenses? Our experience has been that in many cases, the eye with close vision can meet the 20/40 distant requirement with the proper corrective lens. Therefore, the term "uncorrected (or uncorrectable) monovision" is disqualifying. Corrected monovision that meets the vision standard would not be disqualifying. However, if a driver passes the vision standard with or without glasses, it would be hard to argue that they should be disqualified.




What is the advisory criteria for drivers with hypertension/high blood pressure?


In recent years, there has been a lot of confusion with hypertension changes as contained in the ACC/AHA release in March 2018. The questionable change of medical examiners is the new blood pressure values that represent increased cardiovasular disease risk which was changed from 140/90 to 130/60.

This change has caused a lot of questions from DOT examiners regarding whether FMCSA has or will adopt that change in regard to the driver of commercial vehicles medical exam. At the recent Medical Review Board (MRB) meeting, as part of the review of the proposed new medical examiner handbook, the MRB attempted to make the change in the hypertension guidelines as currently contained int he FMSCA Advisory Criteria. However, they ran into a roadblock.
At this time, no change has been made. However, changes may take place in the future. The rulemaking process usually takes years to complete. Given the conflicting concerns of safety organizations versus driver associations, this rulemaking process will likely be longer than most. For now, keeping driver's blood pressure under 140/90 with or without medication is the rule to qualify a driver. Call our office with questions and to stay updated.




What is the Consortium/TPA responsibilities when it comes to the Drug & Alcohol Clearing House?


C/TPA's must create a Clearing House account. When the motor carrier creates their account, they should select their consortium provider. They can give this provider permission to report violations, return to duty results and follow-up plan information, and run queries on behalf of their company. It is up to the C/TPA if they wish to charge for these services. C/TPA's are required to comply with the employer responsibility for single driver owner operators.