An Annual Query is a query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (DACH) that must be done on all drivers that are currently employed with the company. The purpose of this query is to check for any drug and alcohol testing violations that may have been reported that were not disclosed to the employer by the employee. This could happen if the driver has another job and had a violation that was reported by the other employer.
The annual query requirement is that employees must be queried at least once within a 365-day period based on their hire date, or another 12-month period determined by the employer. The language in FMCSA Part 382.701 states “Annual query required. (1) Employers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once per year for information for all employees subject to controlled substance and alcohol testing under this part to determine whether information exists in the Clearinghouse about those employees.”
The Annual Query can be done as a Full Query or as a Limited Query. A Full Query requires the driver to be registered and log in to their account to provide electronic consent to the Query. A Limited Consent requires the employer to keep a signed paper consent form on file for each driver.
The Limited Query will ask the DACH if there is any information on the driver, if not a result of “Driver Not Prohibited” will be returned right away. If there is information in the DACH, then a Full Query will need to be performed on that driver within 24 hours, the Full Query will require the electronic consent of the driver. The Full Query will determine if the driver is not prohibited or prohibited to perform FMCSA safety-sensitive duties.
For the annual query requirement, an employer can run all employees at once with a bulk upload of the drivers into the DACH for the limited query. A template spreadsheet is provided on the FMCSA Clearinghouse web site. It is also readily available for clients of ClearinghouseServices.com.
When performing bulk queries, you can use the Limited to Full Query option. If there is driver information in the DACH, the Limited to Full Query will automatically convert the Limited Query to a Full Query and send the consent request to the driver. Information in the DACH should not be an indication that the driver is prohibited from driving, only that there is information on previous violations that need to be disclosed. The Full Query will disclose what the information is so the employer can make the determination to allow the driver to operate in the FMCSA safety-sensitive position.
A driver must provide electronic consent to a Full Query within 24 hours or they must be removed from their safety-sensitive position until consent is provided. The driver must be registered in the DACH in order to provide consent.
An employer will need to have purchased a Query Plan from the FMCSA through the Dashboard on their DACH account and have queries available in order to be able to conduct queries or for a C/TPA to conduct queries on their behalf. Query credits are purchased only from the FMCSA at $1.25 per query. Employers should plan on purchasing enough queries to cover all drivers currently employed plus additional for new hires planned.