Understanding the DOT's Clearinghouse Rule
The Federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule has gone into effect as of January 6th, 2020. This will impact both hiring processes and compliance programs. This electronic database will track commercial driver’s license holders (CDLs) who have tested positive for prohibited drug or alcohol use, as well as refusals to take drug tests and other drug and alcohol violations. This also includes drivers with commercial learner’s permits (CLPs).
Those required to register and report to the Clearinghouse rule are:
- FMCSA-regulated employers
- Medical Review Officers (MROs)
- Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)
- Consortia/third party administrators (C/TPAs
- Other service agents
It’s expected these individuals report information related to violations of the drug and alcohol regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, parts 40 and 382 by current and prospective employees.
The Clearinghouse will also require the following:
- Employers will be required to perform a limited query as an annual check on all currently employed CDL holders to determine whether any records are found in the Clearinghouse. Violations will be reviewed before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads.
- Employers will be required to perform a full query as a pre-employment check for all prospective drivers or if a limited query returns showing information exists for a queried currently employed CDL holder.
A query is an electronic check in the Clearinghouse conducted by an employer or their designated C/TPA, to determine if current or prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions. This includes operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)due to unresolved drug and alcohol program violations. Employers cannot query the Clearinghouse to determine whether a record exists for any driver without first obtaining that driver’s written or electronic consent. A limited query is simply checking to see if a record exists. This consent can be in written format. Full queries must be completed at the pre-employment stage. This will show any violations of the drug-testing regulations in Part 382 as well as return-to-duty status once a driver has completed a treatment program after a violation. The driver must provide specific consent to the employer prior to each full query. This consent must be provided electronically within the Clearinghouse.
Employers will be required to keep records of violations reported to the Clearinghouse for 5 years. Employers must also retain records of each query and all information received in response to a query for 3 years.
Cost of Queries:
- Flat per query rate ($1.25) for limited and full queries
- There are bundles customized to meet your business needs that never expire
- Options are available for high-volume users
Contact a member of the ‘A’ Team for questions regarding compliance with the Clearinghouse rule.
Below are Clearinghouse resources:
- For more information on the Clearinghouse
- Register with DOT Clearinghouse
- Sample Limited Consent Form
- Defensive Driving Training
- A Refresher on OSHA’s Recordkeeping Requirements
- 3 Ways to Combat Increasing Commercial Auto Rates
- How to Combat Drowsy Driving
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