The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to publish a proposed rule soon to establish a central database for verified positive controlled substances and alcohol test results for commercial driver´s license (CDL) holders. The clearinghouse also would capture refusals by CDL holders to submit to drug and alcohol tests.

On Jan . 27, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget cleared the Dept. of Transportation’s draft with some changes. Due apparently to privacy concerns and other legal complexities, OMB’s review took far longer than normal. DOT submitted its draft to OMB on March 26, 2013. Before that, DOT’s review of FMCSA’s draft took more than nine months.

The drug and alcohol clearinghouse has been under consideration for several years, and the 2012 highway authorization bill known as MAP-21 required DOT to create it by Oct. 1, 2014. The primary goal of the clearinghouse is to ensure that drivers can’t cover up prior positive drug tests by failing to disclose on job applications the employer under which they received the positive tests. Currently, test results are disclosed by carriers only to other carriers seeking employment verification. DOT also says that a central database would help FMCSA verify that carriers themselves are meeting their drug and alcohol testing responsibilities.

If finalized, the rule would require employers of CDL holders and service agents to report positive test results and refusals to test into the clearinghouse. With the written consent of an applicant for a CDL driver position only, prospective employers would query the clearinghouse for any specific information about the driver applicant.