DOT Clearinghouse Query Best Practices

Scott Mogensen

At Foley, we recommend running a limited query on drivers at regular intervals throughout the year to check for violations.

As we briefly discussed last week, the CVSA has added Clearinghouse compliance to its out-of-service criteria – and has begun running roadsideĀ  queries during inspections to check for driver violations. If a driver is found to have a recorded drug or alcohol violation in the Clearinghouse, and is unauthorized to drive, they will be pulled from service immediately.

With approximately 10,000 violations already in the Clearinghouse – a number that’s growing by about 1,200 violations a week – more and more carriers will be impacted by this issue as they see drivers pulled from cabs and freight left stranded roadside.

While the Clearinghouse is designed to keep drivers with drug and alcohol violations off the road, carriers are only required to run a single query on CDL drivers each year – with the first query not due for another 10 months or so. This means that if a driver applies for a job with another company and fails a pre-employment test, for example, that they could continue driving for your company undetected for the better part of this next year. Not only does this put your company at risk for enforcement action if that driver is pulled over for inspection, but it jeopardizes the overall safety of your fleet.

Query Best Practices

The Clearinghouse can be a great tool to help keep your business safe if it’s used to its full potential. At Foley, we recommend running a limited query on drivers at regular intervals throughout the year to check for violations. These limited queries only require a blanket consent form (which you’ll need to have on file for the annual query requirement) and will allow you to run limited queries on your drivers for the duration of their employment with your company. If a “hit” comes back, and shows that information exists on a driver in the Clearinghouse, you’ll be required to get their electronic consent to run a full query. If this consent is not received and you aren’t able to run the query within the next 24 hours, they must be pulled from all safety-sensitive duties until you’re able to run a full query and see all of the information on the driver’s record.

By running regular queries on your drivers, you’ll drastically reduce your chances of being surprised by a driver being pulled from duty during an inspection for violations you didn’t know about – and better ensure that your freight makes it safely to its destination without delay.

To help you better understand Clearinghouse enforcement action – and what your company can do to prepare – Foley is hosting a free webinar on March 26. To register for the webinar, please click the link below.

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