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How to Manage FMCSA Clearinghouse Compliance if You Have Hundreds of Employees Who Drive
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

Automating your DOT compliance programs ensures you're meeting every single federal requirement without losing your mind.

Employers regulated by the FMCSA have seemingly countless compliance requirements to keep up with, and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is one of the most important. 

Since January 6, 2020, employers have had the following five Clearinghouse duties added to their list of regulatory tasks: 

  • Conduct a full pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse during each driver’s pre-hiring process  
  • Conduct limited queries for every driver on their payroll at least on an annual basis  
  • Request electronic consent from each driver for any full query, such as pre-employment queries  
  • Report drivers’ drug and alcohol program violations  
  • Keep records of any return-to-duty (RTD) drug test results and the date of successful completion of follow-up testing plans for any employed driver with unresolved violations 

Juggling the above for a handful of drivers may not seem like a heavy lift to those fluent in Clearinghouse compliance, but what about companies with hundreds, or even thousands of employees who drive?  

If this sounds like something you’re facing in your everyday job duties and it’s becoming increasingly overwhelming, there’s a way to make managing DOT Clearinghouse compliance easier for enterprise fleets. 

The ultimate solution? Automation. 

Here’s why an automated Clearinghouse compliance solution is the key to audit readiness and hiring safer employees who operate commercial vehicles on your business’ behalf: 

  • It’s an easier and more cost-effective way to query your drivers and manage recordkeeping requirements 
  • You’re better informed on employees’ drug and alcohol violation histories  
  • Preparing for audits is one less thing on your never-ending to-do list 
  • Keeping up with the latest regulation updates is no longer your sole responsibility

Automating your DOT Clearinghouse requirements through compliance software is the best way to ensure you’re meeting all federal regulations while reducing your workload. Let’s look at each of the advantages of automation to help you get a clearer picture of what it can do for your company. 

Progressive FMCSA Clearinghouse Query Management 

As a refresher, the two types of Clearinghouse queries are... 

  • Limited: A basic query that shows only if a driver has a record in the Clearinghouse. This type of query fulfills the annual query requirement. The driver’s consent to carry out limited queries is received outside of the Clearinghouse. 
  • Full: A complete query that discloses detailed information about any resolved or unresolved violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. Pre-employment queries must be full queries, and a driver must give electronic consent within the Clearinghouse to run them. 

The more CDL drivers you employ, the more Clearinghouse queries you need to run. The number of recordkeeping requirements you need to keep up with only increases as well. 

On the most basic level, you need to keep limited consent forms, records of all pre-employment queries, and records of all annual queries for each employee for three years. Managing these documents for hundreds of drivers is a full-time job alone.  

With DOT compliance software, your Clearinghouse queries AND the resulting records are all managed automatically. 

Are you getting compliant consent  for your Clearinghouse queries?

Hiring another driver? You can simply order a pre-employment query directly on the Foley platform and the software takes care of the rest. When the query result is ready, you’ll be immediately notified.  

Need to run annual queries on all your drivers? No problem. The same seamless process is applied. From there, the records are all managed in the secure platform so you’re always audit-ready. 

Improved Violation Awareness & Audit Readiness

Even though they’re federally required, DOT Clearinghouse queries not only check a box with the FMCSA, but they also give you better insight into your drivers’ drug and alcohol habits – at least those interfering with their safety-sensitive duties and caught by the law. 

The pre-employment query is designed to make a CDL driver’s past or present violations visible so you can decide whether you would trust them to get behind the wheel of your company vehicles. The annual query, however, gives you crystal-clear visibility of their record throughout their employment. 

Employing unsafe drivers at a business as large and established as yours can come at a hefty price, considering the nuclear verdicts some companies are facing due to negligence. But when it’s managed correctly, the Clearinghouse can act as a line of defense for your company and ensure you’re prepared for audits. 

How high is your audit risk?

Foley’s DOT compliance software is highly regarded by the FMCSA. The Business Manager for a tree service company turned to Foley after the Clearinghouse was put in place, and she shared her positive interaction with an auditor: 

Before I pulled the trigger and signed up with Foley, I actually called the FMCSA safety inspector that did our audit. He said that Foley was absolutely, hands down the company to work with. 

Click here to read their whole story.

Your company can also be better prepared for any regulatory intervention with Foley’s automated Clearinghouse compliance software. 

Ongoing Compliance with the Latest Regulations 

Let’s see if this scenario seems familiar: every time you think you have a handle on the FMCSA regulations your company needs to fulfill, the agency throws a wrench into your processes in the form of a new or updated rulemaking (like the DOT Clearinghouse in 2020). The official documents describing the rule are difficult to interpret, and you’re even more confused than when you started. 

Or maybe you’ve never been 100% sure of your company’s federal requirements. 

Either way, you don’t have to constantly try to stay on top of the FMCSA’s latest rulings to avoid fines of up to $5,833 per Clearinghouse violation. 

Related: FMCSA Fines & Penalties Have Increased – Again

Foley’s compliance experts constantly update our software features to meet today’s federal regulations. When you rely on our FMCSA Clearinghouse solutions, your company is automatically in compliance with the most up-to-date requirements – including the effects that were officially put in place in January. Priceless peace of mind is yet another benefit of automated compliance. 

Automate Your DOT Clearinghouse Compliance 

If you’re struggling to query your growing number of employees who drive in the Clearinghouse, keep a keen eye on their drug and alcohol violation records, prepare for audits, and follow the latest federal regulations – there’s a better way. 

Foley has helped countless companies like yours relieve the stress (and hefty fines!) surrounding their Clearinghouse compliance requirements. Think of our software as the all-in-one solution to make your job easier.  

Schedule a FREE demo with our DOT compliance experts and see the difference automated Clearinghouse compliance software can make for your company. Fill out the form now to get started.

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