DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement Update

Lindsey Bergeron

With upwards of 10,000 violations already in the database, many drivers could get a positive test result with another carrier and continue operating  for many more months without detection.

It’s been two months since the DOT Clearinghouse went into effect, bringing new compliance requirements for both employers of safety-sensitive drivers and CDL drivers themselves. And while the online database experienced some technical difficulties in the beginning that temporarily suspended some of these requirements, the DOT has since fixed those issues – and enforcement is now in full effect.

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In fact, the CVSA announced last week that they have added Clearinghouse compliance to their out-of-service criteria, with inspectors now performing roadside checks as part of their regular inspection process. With approximately 1,200 new drug and alcohol violations added to the database weekly (according to FMCSA data), this means that more and more drivers will likely be pulled from duty and placed immediately out of service during these inspections. This issue has been highlighted in the past few weeks as it identifies a gap in the new Clearinghouse process, as employers are only required to run a Clearinghouse query on their current CDL drivers annually Рwith the first check not due for almost a year. With upwards of 10,000 violations already in the database, many drivers could get a positive test result with another carrier and continue operating  for many more months without detection.

Foley has also heard from a safety auditor that the FMCSA is requiring all auditors to ask about Clearinghouse compliance during both safety audits and compliance reviews to ensure employers are complying with the new regulation. This new process will require employers to provide auditors with a list of every CDL driver the company employed over the past year so that a record of queries and consent can be established.

The areas that auditors will be looking at include:

  • Whether the employer is registered in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been conducting pre-employment queries on all new CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has been conducting at least one query a year on all current CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has the required written and/or electronic consent to run limited and full queries in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been reporting positive drug and/or alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse

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If employers are found to be out of compliance in any of the above areas, fines and/or out-of-service orders will be levied by auditors.

As an employer, the takeaway is this: if you hire CDL drivers, you must make sure you have a Clearinghouse account and are following all of the new Clearinghouse requirements. If you have questions about implementing these requirements into your business – or need help executing a plan correctly – please click here or call (860) 815-0869.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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