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How the FMCSA Clearinghouse Impacts the Safety Performance History Process
3 mins read
Although it creates additional compliance requirements for employers, one of the core benefits of the FMCSA Clearinghouse is the ability for motor carriers to more readily see whether a new hire has a history of drug and alcohol violations. Not only is this information available right at their fingertips, but in some cases, the information will be a much more accurate representation of a driver’s history. No longer will a driver be able to “hide” a drug violation by not providing their full employment history, for example.

Related Article: 4 Driver File Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Over the next two years, it will also help to streamline the safety performance history investigation by allowing motor carriers to check the FMCSA Clearinghouse for prior drug and alcohol violations rather than relying on information from past employers. Here are a few key things to know about the Clearinghouse and its impact on the Safety Performance History process.

  • Until January 7, 2023, employers will need to check both the FMCSA Clearinghouse for a new hire’s drug and alcohol violations AND contact the driver’s employers from the past three years. After that date, employers can rely solely on information in the Clearinghouse for this information.
  • Employers will still need to contact prior employers about other violations. Accidents and other moving violations won’t be recorded in the FMCSA Clearinghouse, so employers will still need to perform a prior employer verification to get this information.
  • If you’re hiring a non-CDL driver, you’ll need to continue reaching out to prior employers to get information about drug and alcohol violations as this information won’t be available in the FMCSA Clearinghouse. Unless non-CDL drivers are at some point included in the Clearinghouse, this process will remain in place.

[New Webinar] A Year of Clearinghouse Violations & Enforcement

Something to keep in mind, is that while it’s now easier than ever to review a driver’s drug and alcohol violation history, consent is still required before that information can be acquired. Just like a driver needs to provide consent before the traditional prior employer verification process, they’ll also need to give consent in the FMCSA Clearinghouse before you’re able to run a full query and view the full details of their driving record. Running either a full or limited query on a driver’s Clearinghouse record without consent will put you in violation of both the FCRA and Privacy Act and could lead to big fines.

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