How Does the FMCSA Clearinghouse Help Me?

If your business is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you have surely heard of the FMCSA Clearinghouse by now.

If you haven’t heard of the FMCSA Clearinghouse, you must contact your Drug and Alcohol Consortium or Third Party Administrator (C/TPA) to get enrolled!

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

The FMCSA opened the Clearinghouse in January 2020. It exists to give employers, law enforcement, medical review officers and substance abuse professionals access to real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL), commercial learner’s permit (CLP), and drug and alcohol program violations for anyone regulated by the FMCSA.

That’s great, but how does it help employers and owner/operator truck drivers?

FMCSA Clearinghouse Benefits to Employers

Before the establishment of the Clearinghouse, employers hiring drivers had to reach out to past employers to ask about violations. That left a lot of room for error if the past employer didn’t respond at all or in a timely manner.

Fortunately, the Clearinghouse makes that process easier for you. For $1.25 per query, you can conduct a query of the Clearinghouse to confirm a new hire’s eligibility to perform safety-sensitive duties. As long as the employee has provided consent to the Clearinghouse, you get immediate confirmation and your new hire can start right away. While there are rules for conducting a full query and a limited query, generally, full queries are for new hires and limited queries are done annually for your current workforce.

Consequences of Not Enrolling in The Clearinghouse

Enrollment is mandatory. If a law enforcement official queries a driver and neither your business nor your driver are enrolled in the Clearinghouse, the driver will not be allowed to drive. Indeed, the FMCSA has the authority to shut down your business for non-compliance. Although there are currently no fines, we believe there will be in the future.

Are you ready? If not, contact Lobdock Impairment Detection at 405-822-0553 or
Clearinghouse management is free
for our clients.

How Does The FMCSA Clearinghouse Work?

Employers and Drivers have specific actions they must take.

Employers and C/TPA Clearinghouse actions:

1. Employers and C/TPAs must register as a user and invite anyone else that needs to have access to the database. This allows authorized users to enter violation information or conduct queries.

2. Conduct a full query on prospective new drivers. Once you initiate the query on the Clearinghouse website, the driver logs on to consent to it.

3. Conduct a limited query on all current drivers at least annually. Drivers must sign a written consent form to initiate the query.

4. Report the following:

  • Certain drug and alcohol program violations
  • Negative return-to-duty (RTD) drug and/or alcohol test results
  • Successful completion of a driver’s follow-up testing plan

Driver Clearinghouse actions:

  1. Register as an employer or driver. Owner-operators must register as an employer and fulfill all employer requirements.
  2. Input CDL information so you can respond to consent requests from your C/TPA.
  3. If you’re an owner/operator, you are required to designate a C/TPA to report violations and return-to-duty information. Owner/operators must comply with Clearinghouse requirements for both employers and drivers.

How do I Challenge Information in the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

If you notice information about you is inaccurate, you can submit a petition to the FMCSA’s DataQs system. After the FMCSA reviews the petition, you’re notified of the decision to remove, retain, or correct the information and the reason behind their decision.

You can only challenge the accuracy of information or report of a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence without a conviction. You cannot challenge the accuracy of test results and refusals.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse makes tracking drug and alcohol test results and violations much easier. With everything in one database, you get results immediately and know that the drivers you employ aren’t driving with past, unresolved drug and alcohol violations.

Enrolling in the FMCSA Clearinghouse is just one step to DOT compliance. Download our free DOT Compliance Report to make sure you’re in the clear and call Lobdock Impairment Detection for help. 405-855-0553.

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