The new FMCSA drug & alcohol clearinghouse is in effect today, Monday, Jan 6, 2020. As of today, employers are required to run queries on new drivers that are hired. The previous method of checking back with previous employers on a paper form is still required for another three years.
Until January 6, 2023, there won’t be three years of violation data in the Clearinghouse – something that carriers are required to obtain prior to hiring a new driver. Until then, carriers must run a full query of the Clearinghouse AND conduct a prior employer verification to collect the information needed to verify the driver clear to drive with no drug/alcohol violations.
Employers must be registered in the Clearinghouse in order to run a query on an applicant. The new driver cannot perform safety sensitive duties until you run the query and get back the clear result. The driver must consent in the Clearinghouse system to the query so the driver must also be registered in the Clearinghouse.
Employer registration instructions for the Clearinghouse will help you to register. Driver registration instructions will help your drivers register in the Clearinghouse. Owner operators should register as employers.
Employers with an FMCSA portal will need their portal credentials available to register in the Clearinghouse. You will also need to request a clearinghouse user role in the portal as the Admin or for assistants, see instructions.
Once registered you will need to purchase query credits in order to run queries, these are $1.25 and only the employer can purchase the queries from the FMCSA. It is recommended you purchase queries equal two times the number of drivers you have. Later in the year you will need to run an annual query on all your drivers that you employ. You can have a C/TPA run queries on your behalf, but the queries must be purchased in advance by the employer.
ClearinghouseServices.com is a private company formed to help employers and drivers with their clearinghouse responsibilities. Affordable membership programs are available in order to receive guidance, training and consultation. ClearinghouseServices.com is not affiliated with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Below are the ten steps that ClearinghouseServices.com has provided to our members to get started with the Clearinghouse.
- Employers should register in FMCSA Clearinghouse, detailed instructions for registration are available, see Employer registration instructions
- Once registered, designate your C/TPA; you can sign up with ClearinghouseServices.com to serve as your C/TPA.
- Purchase in the FMCSA Clearinghouse a Query package equal to approximately two times the number of drives you have, for example, if you have five drivers – purchase ten queries from FMCSA
- Encourage all drivers to register in the Clearinghouse, detailed instructions are available, see – – Driver registration instructions
- Distribute Driver Consent for Annual Limited Query for all drivers to review and sign including new drivers as they are hired. This sets up the consent for the required annual query
- Starting January 6, 2020, for each driver you hire, you must submit a query request to FMCSA or submit to us here ClearinghouseServices.com and we will run the Query for you. You can use the New Hire Information FMCSA Clearinghouse form to notify the applicant of the requirement to register and this form can also be used for Consent for the annual limited query.
- Drivers that you are hiring starting January 6, 2020, must be registered in the FMCSA Clearinghouse and must consent to the Query you are requesting. They will receive the consent request electronically from the FMCSA Clearinghouse
- Effective January 6, 2020, your MRO will report positive drug tests and refusals determined by the employer
- Effective January 6, 2020, you must report any of the following to the FMCSA Clearinghouse or you can request these reporting functions from ClearinghouseServices.com
- Positive alcohol test – 0.04 or above
- Employer determined refusals
- Actual knowledge of drug or alcohol use
- A negative return to duty drug or alcohol test
- Completion of a follow-up drug testing schedule that was required by the Substance Abuse Professional
- Run annual queries on all employees, you can wait until the end of 2020 to do this first time and then annually.