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DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement Update
3 mins read


It’s been a full year since the DOT Clearinghouse went into effect , bringing new compliance requirements for both employers of safety-sensitive drivers and CDL drivers themselves. And while the FMCSA has been enforcing Clearinghouse compliance since last spring, the agency recently formalized the issuance of fines for noncompliance by revising Appendix B to include civil penalties for employers, employees, medical review officers and service agents who are in violation of the DOT Clearinghouse regulation.


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Many of these violations will be caught during roadside inspections: the CVSA has added DOT Clearinghouse compliance to their out-of-service criteria and inspectors are now performing roadside checks as part of their regular inspection process. With approximately 1,200 new drug and alcohol violations added to the database weekly (according to FMCSA data), this means that more and more drivers will likely be pulled from duty and placed immediately out of service during these inspections. As we’ve noted in the past, this issue identifies a gap in the new Clearinghouse process, as employers are only required to run a Clearinghouse query on their current CDL drivers annually – with the first annual check due last week. With upwards of 50,000 violations already in the database, many drivers could get a positive test result with another carrier and continue operating  for many more months without detection.

Foley has also heard from a safety auditor that the FMCSA is requiring all auditors to ask about Clearinghouse compliance during both safety audits and compliance reviews to ensure employers are complying with the new regulation. This process will require employers to provide auditors with a list of every CDL driver the company employed over the past year so that a record of queries and consent can be established.

The areas that auditors will be looking at include:

  • Whether the employer is registered in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been conducting pre-employment queries on all new CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has been conducting at least one query a year on all current CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has the required written and/or electronic consent to run limited and full queries in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been reporting positive drug and/or alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse

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If employers are found to be out of compliance in any of the above areas, fines and/or out-of-service orders will be levied by auditors.

As an employer, the takeaway is this: if you hire CDL drivers, you must make sure you have a Clearinghouse account and are following all of the new Clearinghouse requirements. If you have questions about implementing these requirements into your business – or need help executing a plan correctly – please click here or call (860) 815-0869.

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