Breaking Down the New Clearinghouse Requirements

01/22/2020 Written by: Andy Engardio

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has launched. Do you understand what is required? Since it opened on January 6, 2020, it’s important for motor carriers to understand the reporting requirements. Step one: motor carriers can register here. Consider these next steps and basic requirements:
New Hire CDL Drivers

  • When you receive a new CDL driver application, you should ask the driver if they are registered in the Clearinghouse
    • If the answer is NO: provide them with the “Clearinghouse Registration Driver” form to make the inquiry process easier
    • If they do not sign up, the authorization will be snail mailed to the last address attached to their driver’s license. They will then have to mail back authorization to the Clearinghouse which will take several weeks.
  • A Driver can NOT perform a safety-sensitive function until a clean response is provided by the Clearinghouse. (Safe to assume driving is a “safety-sensitive” function.)

Determining Who Needs to Register

  • If a CDL driver never plans to leave a motor carrier, he would not need to register.
    • The exception would be if the motor carrier has to run a full query on that driver because something appeared on his driving record during a limited query.
  • If a CDL driver plans to find a job with another carrier, he would need to register. 

Annual Requirements

  • A Motor Carrier is required to run a limited query on all drivers annually. This requirement can be met with a Clearinghouse Consent form
    • All CDL drivers need to provide signed consent for the limited queries.
  • A full query is needed for all new hires, however after they are hired, they still need to provide written consent for the motor carrier to run limited queries.
    • This consent form should be kept in the secure Medical & Drug and Alcohol File NOT the DQ File. We recommend the 3-file system: DQ, Personnel, and Medical & Drug and Alcohol.
  • Per the sample, you can make the Consent form open ended on both number of limited queries run and time frame of employment / contractual obligation.

Additional Important Notes

  • A CDL driver refusing to authorize a full query should be removed from safety-sensitive functions. (Again, assume driving is a “sensitive-safety” function.)
  • Effective April 1, 2020, a new OOS violation will link the Clearinghouse with Roadside Inspectors. More information to follow.
  • FMCSA regulations require employers to add language to their FMCSA drug and alcohol testing policies to notify drivers and driver applicants that the following information will be reported to the Clearinghouse:
    • A verified positive, adulterated, or substituted drug test result
    • An alcohol confirmation test with a concentration of 0.04 or higher
    • A refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test
    • An employer’s report of actual knowledge, as defined at 49 CFR § 382.107
    • On duty alcohol use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.205
    • Pre-duty alcohol use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.207
    • Alcohol use following an accident pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.209
    • Drug use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.213
    • A SAP’s report of the successful completion of the return-to-duty process
    • A negative return-to-duty test and,
    • An employer’s report of completion of follow-up testing

This is a bullet point breakdown of the key takeaways. If you have any questions, please contact a member of the AssuredPartners Transportation Team at any time and we’ll help track down the answers.

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