Running a DOT Clearinghouse Check

Scott Mogensen

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.

Related Article: Only 20 Percent of Carriers Aware of New Clearinghouse Rules

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

  • 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.

Download our Clearinghouse Infographic Here!

Full Queries

  • 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.

Important Consideration

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.

Clearinghouse eBook

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