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Impact of the DOT Clearinghouse on the Pre-Hire Process
Foley
4 mins read
One of the core challenges of hiring new drivers is ensuring you’re able to onboard them quickly – before another fleet has the opportunity to make an offer first. But with all of the pre-hire compliance requirements that must be met, this can sometimes be a challenge.

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And while this has always been true, the new DOT Clearinghouse requirements add another potential delay to the process.

Understanding the DOT Clearinghouse Query Requirement

Before you hire a new safety sensitive employee, you are now required to run a full Clearinghouse query on them to ensure there are no drug or alcohol violations on their record that will prevent them from driving legally. Running a full query requires the following three requirements:

  • Employers must have a Clearinghouse account
  • The driver must have a Clearinghouse account
  • The driver must give consent in the Clearinghouse for you to run the query

According to FMCSA data from September 2020, approximately 80 percent of CDL employers are still unregistered – and the number of unregistered drivers is about the same. For employers, being unregistered isn’t only a serious compliance issue, it will create unnecessary delays during the hiring process as you won’t be able to run the required query without an account.

And if the driver doesn’t have any account? Then you’re looking at another delay as they won’t be able to provide consent until that step is complete.

Preparing for a Smoother (and Faster) Hiring Process

Step 1: If you aren’t yet registered, make sure you do so right away

To ensure you’re able to hire and onboard drivers as quickly as possible, the first thing you must do is register as an employer in the Clearinghouse. This isn’t just important to ensure you’re meeting pre-hire requirements, but is necessary before you’re able to report driver violations or run the required annual query on every safety-sensitive driver you employ.

Step 2: Make sure drivers are registered in advance

Early on in the hiring process, give prospective drivers a reminder to register for the Clearinghouse if they haven’t done so already – so that they have an account set up and ready to go when you’re ready to move forward with your pre-hire requirements. If they need help registering, you can direct them to our Clearinghouse Resources Center which has step-by-step instructions for registering as a driver.

Step 3: Make Sure Drivers are Prepared for the Query

Once you know you’ll be moving forward with the new hire, give them advance notice of when you’ll be requesting their consent so that they can be prepared to accept it right away. The sooner you can run the query, the sooner you can proceed with the job offer and get them behind the wheel.

By following these three steps, you’ll be better positioned to both meet your compliance requirements and get new drivers behind the wheel as quickly as possible.

If you’d like to learn  more about how to streamline your recruiting and hiring process, check out our free Driver Recruitment ebook or tune in to our webinar on Clearinghouse enforcement changes.

 
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