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How the DOT Clearinghouse Will Impact Your Compliance Programs
4 mins read

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 – The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will impact employees in a few key areas. First, it will make it easier to hire and retain safe drivers by ensuring that you know when a drug and alcohol violation occurs. This is a big plus for carriers – especially as drug and alcohol use becomes a bigger and bigger problem.

This peace of mind isn’t free, however, and will require additional time and resources to execute in your company. Carriers should understand the additional obligations their businesses now face so that they can better prepare and have the help needed to execute their compliance programs correctly.

#1: An Additional Step in the Pre-Employment Process

Before a new CDL driver can be onboarded and put behind the wheel, carriers must get the driver’s consent and run a full Clearinghouse query to check for violations first. If it’s before January 6, 2023, they’ll also need to contact the driver’s previous employers to obtain this information. This will ensure they have three years of information available, as required by DOT regulations.

#2: The Annual Review Process

At least once a year for the duration of each driver’s employment carriers are required to query the Clearinghouse to check for new violations. This query can be either a limited or a full Clearinghouse check, but if a limited query shows that a new record exists, you’ll need to get the driver’s consent to run a full query within 24 hours.

Join Our FREE Webinar on Clearinghouse Compliance! Sign Up Today

#3: Managing Your DOT Drug & Alcohol Program

Not only do you need to check the Clearinghouse periodically to ensure your drivers are eligible to drive a CDL vehicle, but if one of them tests positive for drug use during a random drug test, or receives any other drug or alcohol violation, it is your responsibility to report that information to the Clearinghouse so that it can be added to the driver’s record. Third Party Administrators, Substance Abuse Professionals and Medical Review Officers all have this responsibility, as well.

Violations that you’re responsible for reporting to the Clearinghouse include:

  • Positive drug test results
  • Alcohol results with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.04
  • Refusals to tests
  • “Actual knowledge” violations
  • Negative return-to-duty test results

While it’s an important step in protecting the safety of our roadways (and helping you maintain a safe workforce), the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse does come with new compliance requirements that could put additional strain on your company’s resources. This is especially true over the next three years when employers will be required to conduct both the Clearinghouse query and prior employer verification before they hire a new driver.

Related Article: Understanding the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Register for Our Webinar!

Here at Foley, we want to help you prepare for the Clearinghouse so that you know what to expect when it goes into effect on January 6, 2020. From how the Clearinghouse works to the impact on your time to hire, our on-demand webinar will give you all of the information you need to know about this important regulatory change.  Click here to sign up! 

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