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1 in 3 CDL Employers Still Aren’t Registered in the Clearinghouse
Admin
4 mins read
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a notice to Consortiums and Third Party Administrators (C/TPAs) last week with an important reminder for their motor carrier clients: make sure you’re registered in the DOT Clearinghouse.

According to the April 2021 Clearinghouse Summary Report, there are currently about 237,000 employers registered in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This means that 1/3 of CDL employers still aren’t complying with their DOT Clearinghouse requirements. 

DOT Clearinghouse fines have doubled in 2021. Are you at risk?

Why is DOT Clearinghouse Registration so Important?

The DOT Clearinghouse went into effect in January 2020 as a way to prevent unqualified drivers with DOT drug and alcohol violations from operating a commercial motor vehicle. Since the effective date, employers have been required to run a full pre-employment Clearinghouse query on all new CDL drivers they employ. In addition, they’re required to run a limited query on every CDL driver they employ annually – with the first annual queries due no later than January 5, 2021.

Clearinghouse registration is a pre-requisite to running these required queries – so if you don’t have an account, you aren’t meeting your compliance requirements.

The Consequences of Noncompliance

Although the DOT Clearinghouse has been in effect for well over a year, the FMCSA gave motor carriers a grace period so that they had time to learn the regulation and put these new practices into effect without risk of violations.

As of Spring 2021, however, that grace period has ended, and the FMCSA announced that they’d be levying fines of up to $5,833 per violation for motor carriers who weren’t complying with the Clearinghouse.

In addition, inspectors are now checking for Clearinghouse violations during roadside inspections, so if you have a driver on the road with an active drug and/or alcohol violation, they will be put out of service immediately.

1 in 3 carriers still aren't Clearinghouse compliant. We can help

Your Next Step: Registration

If you’re one of the many CDL employers who hasn’t yet created a DOT Clearinghouse account, you’ll want to get one set up immediately. At Foley, we’ve put together a  video and a PDF registration guide to walk you through the process. It is relatively straightforward and should only take a few minutes of your time.

Employer Registration Guide 

Then? Get Compliant

Once you’re registered, you’ll need to create a Clearinghouse compliance program for your business. This includes:

  • Amending your workplace drug and alcohol testing policy to include DOT Clearinghouse checks
  • Having all drivers sign a limited consent form that allows you to run limited Clearinghouse queries for the duration of their employment
  • Creating a program that ensures queries are run at the required intervals (at a minimum)

Once your program is in place, you’ll need to go back and make sure you have a pre-employment query on file for every new driver who was hired since the Clearinghouse regulation went into effect – as well as a limited query on file for every driver you’ve employed within that same timeframe.

Confused? Have questions? We can help! We’ve been helping employers with their Clearinghouse requirements since before the regulation went into effect. To contact us for help, please click here.

 
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