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January 4, 2023

FMCSA Clearinghouse Compliance – Your 9-Point Checklist For 2023 Is Here

The New Year has begun and there is a lot to be done. Your clearinghouse registration requirements might not be as clear to you as you thought they were but this is exactly what we are here to clarify. The new FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse regulations should always be implemented correctly and without fail. It should be one of the top concerns for your company and you as an employer. When you want to make sure that all your drivers and safety-sensitive position holders are in order and have absolutely no glitches in their track record, you need to focus on your clearinghouse responsibility and do the needful without any delays. The following section talks about a few things that make the FMCSA clearinghouse regulations highly critical for your company. Let’s discuss:

1. Understand Driver Awareness

The clearinghouse registration/regulation stresses driver awareness. It is important for you as an employer to notify all your drivers and safety-sensitive position holders so that they can register or provide consent for the clearinghouse requirement. Any driver who is left out will end up not complying with this rule laid down by the authorities. It is also going to result in your business being non-compliant. Remember, each one of your existing drivers and potential employees need to provide their consent without fail.

2. Assisting In The Recruitment Process

The clearinghouse requirement is also critical for the recruitment process of any business involved in the transport sector or any other industry that is regulated by the US department of transportation. The clearinghouse is basically a data reservoir that provides information on drivers to all the probable employers who are looking to hire them for any job responsibility. It speeds up their recruitment process and gives them the surety that the driver has not had any drug or alcohol-related violations. Even if the driver has had any violations, there will be ample information about the same and the corrective procedures that he has followed post that violation.

3. Onboarding And Communication With Everyone

When you are in the process of maintaining clearinghouse registration/compliance with the FMCSA, it is important for you to educate your drivers regarding the same. Explain to them just how significant this regulation is and how it is going to impact their employment and rating with the authorities as well.

4. Safety For Your Employees

When you have adequate and appropriate information about all your drivers and safety-sensitive position holders both the existing ones and the ones that you wish to employ, you can rest assured that every employee at your workplace is going to be safe. When you are certain that there are no violations under the name of any driver, it gives you a sense of peace and security. Also, when you have clarity about whether any driver who has had any violations in the past, has been through corrective procedures and follow-up testing, you have a surety that nothing is going to go wrong while maintaining the safety of all your workers, employees, and safety-sensitive position holders in your organization.

5. Register With The FMCSA Clearinghouse On Time

It is advised to associate with a highly skilled, qualified, and dependable third-party administrator. They are going to do the needful for you including getting you to register with the clearinghouse. They will also guide you on which query plan in the clearinghouse you should purchase. You get vast information and education about the various obligations that you are required to fulfill before you hire any employee and also while maintaining compliance throughout the year.

6. Understanding The Pre-Hire Requirement

As an employer, you are required to conduct a full query of the driver to make sure that he is not prohibited to perform any safety-sensitive job responsibilities. Make sure that the electronic consent is provided by the driver directly to the clearinghouse. This is what enables the clearinghouse to release that information in the first place.

7. The Annual Query Requirement For Every Driver

is signed by the driver outside of the clearinghouse. Also, this consent can be electronic if the driver wishes to do so. If you find any information related to the driver after performing a limited query, you are required to conduct a full query in the clearinghouse within 24 hours.

8. Maintaining Your DQF

You must be wondering what all information goes into your driver qualification file. You will have to retain the results that you obtain from the clearinghouse query in your driver qualification file. In addition to this, you are also required to update your list of consumer reporting agencies. This is as per the 1681m Notice and California Disclosure rule. You will also have to include the FMCSA clearinghouse contact information along with it. It is also important to ensure that your drug and alcohol policy and the entire training module include this clearinghouse information. This helps you comply with 49 CFR 382.601 obligations.

9. The Information The FMCSA Clearinghouse Retains

  • Verified positive test result
  • Alcohol confirmation
  • Test refusal to submit to any test

Remember, the final rule or any of the latest changes or amendments made to the clearinghouse requirement, if any, do not change any of the existing requirements in Part 40. The procedures that are in place for your workplace drug and alcohol testing policies are going to remain the same.

Let’s Wrap It Up For Now

In the end, remember that all your drivers are allowed to update or correct their information in the clearinghouse. Clearinghouse registration allows them to request corrections very easily. The drivers are allowed to challenge the accuracy of the information that they may have reported by mistake. The accuracy or validity of the drug and alcohol tests that they may have appeared for or any of the refusals that they may have exhibited cannot be challenged or changed.

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