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Four Years In: How the FMCSA Clearinghouse is Changing in 2024
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

Are you prepared for the new 2024 Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse regulations? 

The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has felt like a burden for many companies since it was established in January 2020, but its advantages have become clear over the past year.

2024 Prohibited Clearinghouse Record Final Ruling

One major change coming in November 2024 is the revoking or denial of CDLs/CLPs for drivers with "prohibited" statuses in the FMCSA Clearinghouse. 

This status results from drivers having drug and/or alcohol violations recorded in the Clearinghouse. The only way to remove the prohibited status from a driver's Clearinghouse record is to complete the return-to-duty process. You can learn more about this process in this Foley article. 

To avoid your drivers losing their commercial driving privileges, now is the time to review their Clearinghouse statuses. While it is illegal for drivers to continue operating with a prohibited Clearinghouse status (plus it puts your company at risk of fines up to $5,833 per violation), it never hurts to check on your compliance.

2023 Changes to FMCSA Clearinghouse Pre-Employment Process

Starting January 6, 2023 — three years since the DOT Clearinghouse was officially put in place — DOT-regulated companies no longer needed to perform the manual task of checking their potential new driver’s Safety Performance Histories by reaching out to their previous employers for drug-and-alcohol-related violation information from the previous three years.

Instead, simply conducting a pre-employment query in the FMCSA Clearinghouse fulfills the requirement of obtaining a driver’s record of drug and alcohol violations since the Clearinghouse has three years of data for all registered users. 

Even though this upcoming regulation simplifies things for employers, you may still have a few questions regarding the DOT Clearinghouse updates. Below, we’ll answer these pressing questions:

  • Do I still need to contact a driver’s previous employers before hiring them?
  • Do I still need to run annual DOT Clearinghouse queries?
  • What if my employee worked in another federally regulated industry?
  • How can I prepare for the 2024 Clearinghouse now?

Let’s go over the information you need to continue operating compliantly in the new year.

Do I still need to contact a driver’s previous employers for other information?

Yes, you still need to contact a potential driver’s former FMCSA-regulated employers from the past three years to confirm the following:

  • Employment verification – when the employee worked for them, what vehicles they operated, etc.
  • FMCSA-reported crashes – severe crashes that occurred within the past three years that meet FMCSA thresholds

Even if they do not qualify as FMCSA-reported crashes, the former employer may also provide information regarding fender benders or other occurrences of the employee's unsafe driving practices.

Keep in mind, any additional questions you ask their previous employers must not violate state and federal employment and privacy laws.

Do I still need to run annual DOT Clearinghouse queries?

Yes. The annual query requirement is not affected by this update. If you employ CDL drivers, you must conduct a limited query in the DOT Clearinghouse at least once per year on a rolling 12-month basis. This means if you conducted your employees’ queries in December 2023, it’s time to run them once again to fulfill this compliance requirement.

Our related Foley article, Compliance Reminder: Your Annual DOT Clearinghouse Queries are Due, explains the annual Clearinghouse query process.

What if my employee worked in another federally regulated industry?

The DOT Clearinghouse contains driver data for those employed by FMCSA-regulated companies. Because of this, after receiving their written consent, you still must contact your prospective driver’s former employers when they...

  • Worked for an employer regulated by a DOT agency other than FMCSA, such as the Federal Railroad Administration or Federal Aviation Administration
  • Were subject to DOT drug screens

When you contact the employers, you must ask them if the employee produced any of the following:

  1. Alcohol tests with a 0.04 or higher alcohol concentration result
  2. Verified positive DOT drug screen results
  3. Testing refusals (including any verified altered, contaminated, or substituted drug test results)
  4. Other violations of DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations

If the driver has committed any of these violations, you need to request documentation showing the employee successfully completed DOT return-to-duty requirements (including follow-up tests).

If the previous employer does not have information about the return-do-duty process (e.g., an employer who did not hire an employee who tested positive on a pre-employment test), you must seek to obtain this information from the employee.

How can I prepare for the 2024 Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse now?

If you’re still unsure of what the new 2024 DOT Clearinghouse regulation updates mean for your business, you may be tempted to put them off. Don’t do it! 

Foley’s compliance experts can walk you through your DOT drug and alcohol Clearinghouse requirements and ensure you’re following all the regulations – both new and old.

Here’s what one Foley customer had to say about his positive experience with Foley’s DOT compliance software:

“I have been a customer of Foley Carrier Services for about a year already, and I love them because they do the job and they handle the drug and alcohol program, the driver qualification files, and the Clearinghouse queries – they do it all. I just give them a call and they solve everything. I would definitely recommend Foley for beginners who are just starting their trucking companies as well as those who have been in business for quite some time.” –Yevgeniy D.

Now that you know the difference it can make, set up some time with Foley for a free demo of our DOT Clearinghouse program, which runs pre-employment, annual, random, and follow-up queries throughout the year for you.

Once you’re enrolled, you can check off these items from your long compliance to-do list – and you’ll never have to worry about keeping track of DOT drug screens or regulations like this again. 

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