Drug and Alcohol Testing and Reporting Requirements
for Church and School Drivers

Federal regulations require all people who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to undergo periodic drug testing. Schools, ministries, and other organizations that employ bus or other commercial motor vehicle drivers may need to follow federal drug and alcohol testing and reporting requirements for CDL holders. Churches and ministries aren’t exempt.

Drivers must obtain a CDL if they operate vehicles designed to transport at least 16 passengers, such as school buses.

Drug and alcohol testing must be conducted at the following times:

  • During the employment process.
  • After any on-the-job accident involving the loss of life.
  • Following a moving traffic violation.
  • When an employee is suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol.

Employers are also required to randomly test drivers throughout the year and give periodic tests after a driver returns to work following rehabilitation.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This online database records information about FMCSA drug or alcohol violations by CDL drivers. Christian ministries can use this information to know when an employee or volunteer is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle.   

In addition to complying with drug and alcohol testing requirements, ministries may be required to participate in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Participation is mandatory if the ministry uses a CDL driver, paid employee or volunteer, to operate a commercial vehicle that:

  • Seats more than 16 passengers, including the driver
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Operates intrastate (within one state) or interstate

Ministries using CDL drivers may be required to participate in the Clearinghouse by:

  • Conducting a full query of the Clearinghouse as part of each pre-employment driver investigation process
  • Conducting limited queries at least annually for every driver they employ
  • Reporting drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse

For additional requirements, please visit the FMCSA Clearinghouse website.

Ministries operating 9-15 passenger vans will not be required to comply with the Clearinghouse, even though they may have other FMCSA requirements such as registering for a USDOT number.

You can find additional information about drug and alcohol testing from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

You can also visit the FMCSA Clearinghouse at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/