NOTE: This article is an excerpt from our new ebook, “The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse: How it Works & its Impact on Your Time to Hire.” To download and read the full ebook, click here.
DECEMBER 10, 2019 – As we stated earlier, employers will be required to check the Clearinghouse at the following times:
- Once during the pre-employment process
- At least once annually for the duration of each driver’s employment
As long as they have the proper permissions, employers are able to run a Clearinghouse check on their drivers as often as they’d like. By monitoring drivers’ records on an ongoing basis, employers will know immediately if a driver gets a drug and alcohol violation with another motor carrier.
Clearinghouse Search = Background Check
Running a search of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a consumer report and is subject to the same Privacy Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements as the other background checks you run. This means that before you can check a driver’s record, you must have their permission to do so.
There are two different types of queries you can run in the Clearinghouse, each of which has its own consent requirements.
- Limited queries only show that a record exists for a driver – it doesn’t show the details of the violation(s).
- Employers can use a blanket consent form to run these queries. This consent form can remain in effect for the duration of a driver’s employment, enabling them to run limited queries on drivers as often as they’d like.
- If a limited query shows that a record exists for a driver, then an employer is required to run a full query within 24 hours. If the driver doesn’t consent to the query, will need to be pulled from safety sensitive duties.
- A full Clearinghouse query shows all of the details of the driver’s record and their violations.
- A full query is a required background check before a new CDL driver is hired.
- Employers must get the driver’s consent each time they intend to run a full query on them in the Clearinghouse. Consent is given right through the Clearinghouse portal.
Until January 6, 2023, there won’t be three years of violation data in the Clearinghouse – something that carriers are required to obtain prior to hiring a new driver. Until then, carriers must run a full query of the Clearinghouse AND conduct a prior employer verification to collect the information needed for the driver qualification file.