News & Announcements

Register Now! FMCSA Clearinghouse to Go Live January 6, 2020

Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2019 6:26 am

Employers regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) must be ready to comply with the requirements of the FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”) when it becomes operational on January 6, 2020.

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

The FMCSA Clearinghouse is an electronic database that will contain records of commercial motor vehicle drivers’ violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations, which employers are required to report.  Employers must also search the Clearinghouse for information during the pre-employment process for prospective employees, and at least once a year for current employees, to determine whether anyone has incurred a drug or alcohol violation with a different employer that would prohibit the employee from performing safety-sensitive functions.  The Clearinghouse will enable employers to more easily identify drivers who commit a drug or alcohol program violation while working for one employer, but who fail to subsequently inform another employer.

What should employers do?

Employers of CDL drivers should go to https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/register to create a user account and purchase a query plan that will enable them to conduct queries beginning January 6, 2020.  Employers should familiarize themselves with the website, which contains FAQs and various other resources, including a sample limited consent form that employers can use to obtain consent to conduct limited queries.  Employers should also be sure they have updated their policies to notify drivers of the list of violations that will be reported to the Clearinghouse.  See HEC’s sample policy.

Employers who do not comply with the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements are subject to criminal penalties in addition to civil penalties not to exceed $2,500 for each offense.

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