How to complete the return to duty process in the clearinghouse?

Categories: education

FMCSA Releases Updated Clearinghouse Return-to-Duty Process for CDL Drivers

Many CDL license holders, employers and individuals contact us daily with questions concerning the return to duty process and how to upload RTD tests to the clearinghouse.  Recently the FMCSA released updated information regarding drivers and the return to duty process. Any driver with a drug and alcohol program violation is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, including operating commercial motor vehicles, for any DOT-regulated employer until the driver has completed the return-to-duty (RTD) process as outlined in 49 CFR part 40.

Furthermore, starting on November 18, 2024, as part of new Federal regulations, drivers with a “prohibited” status in FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will be denied or lose their State-issued commercial driving privileges. Click Here to download the updated CDL Driver Resource Card.

How do I complete the return-to-duty process and get back to being “not prohibited”?

The complete Return to Duty process is outline in 49 CFR Part 40, Subpart O, but you may find a summary of the requirements listed below.

If you have a violation of the DOT drug and alcohol testing program, your employer or in the case of a pre-employment, the employer you applied with is required to provide you with a list of DOT qualified substance abuse professionals (SAPs) and the driver must select your substance abuse professional in the clearinghouse portal. A best practice would be to contact the SAP's prior to just selecting them in the clearinghouse to avoid confusion and it will allow you to discuss the program treatment and pricing with the SAP prior to enrollment. 

One you have selected your substance abuse professional and begin the process, your SAP will provide an initial evaluation and provide recommendations for education and treatment throughout the program. Throughout the program your SAP will monitor your progress and they will determine if you have successfully completed the education and treatment program as prescribed.  Once the SAP determines that you have successfully completed the program, you will be eligible for your return to duty test.

How do I take my return to duty test?

A DOT regulated return to duty test must be authorized by your employer only, not the employee (driver).  If you are an owner operator, your designated consortium/third party administrator (C/TPA) must send you for this test. Upon completion of your return to duty drug test, your negative result must be uploaded to the FMCSA Clearinghouse by your employer or authorized C/TPA which will update your status to not prohibited, thus making you eligible to resume preforming safety sensitive functions. 

How to I complete the return to duty process and my status updated?

Your return to duty process will be updated when your employer enters your negative return to duty test as stated earlier, but in order to remain in a "not prohibited" status, your employer or in the case of a single owner operator, you designated C/TPA must complete the follow up testing plan as outlined by your substance abuse professional (SAP).  The minimum requirement for a DOT follow up testing plan must include a minimum of 6 unannounced follow up (observed) tests within the first 12 months of returning to safety sensitive functions.  This information regarding your drug and alcohol program is retained in the clearinghouse for 5 years from the date of the violation or until the successful completion of the follow-up testing plan. (whichever is later)

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