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Drivers With Clearinghouse Violations May Not be Eligible for CDL
3 mins read

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this week that would prevent state driver’s license agencies (SDLAs) from issuing or renewing a CDL if the driver has a DOT drug and alcohol violation. If it’s signed into law, drivers would not be eligible for a license until they completed the return-to-duty process and it was recorded in the DOT Clearinghouse.

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This proposal is the next step in giving the Clearinghouse a bigger role in maintaining driver safety. While it doesn’t change the regulation that drivers are prohibited from driving if they have a DOT drug or alcohol violation, it does make it more challenging for a CDL driver to continue operating until the return-to-duty process is complete.

How it Impacts Employers

Although this proposal is designed to help improve the safety of our roadways, employers shouldn’t see much of an impact if they’re using the DOT Clearinghouse to its full potential. As you’re probably aware by now, if you employ CDL drivers, then you are required to create a Clearinghouse account and run queries on all new and current drivers – both at the time of hire and at least once a year for the duration of their employment. You’re also required to report all DOT drug and alcohol violations that occur while a driver is employed by you.

Are You Clearinghouse  Compliant? We Can Help

But checking the Clearinghouse only once a year, as mandated by the regulation, could leave a lot of gaps in your knowledge of drivers’ history – especially if they’re driving for multiple carriers. This makes it very important that you run queries on your drivers at regular intervals. By doing so, you’ll know quickly if a driver isn’t eligible to drive so that you can pull them from safety-sensitive functions and have them complete the return-to-duty process. This is in both of your best interests – the sooner they complete the process, the sooner they can get back behind the wheel and renew their CDL (if needed). For you, it ensures your fleet stays safe and compliant. It also helps prevents the headache of a driver getting pulled from the road for a Clearinghouse violation – and the question of how to get your stranded freight moving again.

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