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December 11, 2020

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse annual limited queries

Mike Bohon

The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements have been in effect since January 6, 2020. From that date, Motor Carrier employers have been required to be registered in the Clearinghouse, complete electronic and manual queries, and report drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse.

Under 49 CFR 382.701(b), the FMCSA requires that an annual query be conducted for each driver you employ that is subject to the Commercial Driver's License and drug and alcohol testing requirements. This regulation also states that in lieu of a full query, a limited query can be conducted to satisfy these requirements. “A limited query allows an employer to determine if an individual driver’s Clearinghouse record has any information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations, but does not release any specific violation information contained in the driver’s Clearinghouse record. Limited queries require only a general driver consent, which is obtained outside the Clearinghouse; this general consent is not required on an annual basis, it may be effective for more than one year. However, the limited consent request must specify the timeframe the driver is providing consent for.”[1] You can find a sample of a general consent form for limited queries at:

If, after you run a limited query, there is information found for a specific driver, you must then obtain electronic consent from the driver within the Clearinghouse to run a full query. This full query must be conducted within 24 hours of the limited query, or the driver shall be removed from all safety sensitive functions. If the driver does not provide consent, the driver cannot perform safety sensitive functions.

It is important to remember that the requirement to run an annual query must be satisfied prior to January 6, 2021, and annually thereafter.

If you have any questions, or need any additional information on this topic, please reach out to a member of the MMA – Leawood, Kansas Risk Consulting team.