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Why Employers Want Non-CDL Drivers Included in the Clearinghouse
Foley
3 mins read

NOVEMBER 14, 2019 – The DOT Clearinghouse is now just a few months way – bringing big changes to safety-sensitive drivers and their employers.

And while non-CDL drivers will be unaffected by the change, many large employers believe they should be required to comply with the Clearinghouse too. “Many drivers who fail a test and can’t ‘job hop’ due to the Clearinghouse will downgrade to an operator’s license and migrate to carriers not required to conduct testing or test for past failures,” one big motor carrier commented.

Related Article: Privacy and the DOT Clearinghouse

Why Employers are Concerned

When the DOT Clearinghouse goes into effect on January 6, 2020, all drug and alcohol violations will be documented in a federal database. So, if a driver tests positive on a pre-employment drug test, for example, any current or future employers will find out – and they’ll be required to complete the return-to-duty process before being allowed to drive again.

The concern is that drivers who lose their CDL driving privileges will move into a non-CDL driving role instead – pushing potentially unsafe drivers into these positions. To pre-empt this issue, many larger carriers asked the FMCSA to extend the new Clearinghouse regulations to all drivers – not just those in safety-sensitive roles.

Download our Clearinghouse Infographic Here!

The FMCSA’s Response

The DOT Clearinghouse was created through the MAP-21 mandate – which applies only to CDL drivers who are subject to federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. Because of this, the FMCSA has responded to these concerns by saying that requiring non-CDL drivers to participate in the Clearinghouse would “expand the reach of this rulemaking to employers and drivers who are not required to participate in FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program.”

“Because these parties are not subject to part 382 requirements, they did not have sufficient notice that the Clearinghouse requirements could become applicable to them and, accordingly, have not had a fair opportunity to participate in this proceeding.”

The agency also noted that if a CDL driver receives a drug and alcohol violation, they’d also be prohibited from driving non-CDL commercial vehicles until they’ve completed the return-to-duty process. So, provided that drivers are providing an accurate history of both their employment and drug and alcohol testing history, the FMCSA doesn’t believe this should be a major issue for carriers.

Additionally, non-CDL carriers can conduct both pre-employment and/or random drug and alcohol testing as part of a drug-free workplace program. While these results wouldn’t be reportable to the Clearinghouse, they would discourage employee drug use and help protect the safety of the roads.

What are your thoughts on the new DOT Clearinghouse? Do you think it should apply to non-CDL drivers, too? Leave us your comments below!

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