FMCSA Clearinghouse Info for Employers

By: Keith J. Signoriello

Keith Signoriello is the owner and principal of C&S Insurance, along with co-owner Ben Cavallo.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse is now open for employer registration. Is your company registered and ready to comply with commercial driver tracking? If not, review the following FAQs to get started…

What is the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

The clearinghouse is designed to function as a secure, online database—providing up-to-date info about every commercial driver in the country. Employers, among others, will use it as a tool to evaluate and monitor any CDL and CLP holders. The database will contain information about drivers’ drug and alcohol violations. The overarching goal is to make our nation’s roadways safer.

Who will be affected by this new database?

Anyone who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and drives a commercial vehicle on public roadways is affected. ALSO, anyone who employs one or more of these drivers. People who should take notice include:

  • Interstate and intrastate motor carriers
  • Passenger carriers
  • School bus drivers
  • Construction equipment operators
  • Limousine drivers
  • Municipal vehicle drivers (e.g. waste management vehicles)
  • Business owners who employ any of the above
  • Owner-operators (folks who employ themselves as CDL drivers)

How do I register for the clearinghouse?

Affected employers should visit the FMCSA’s registration page to create a user account and begin the registration process. Once your company is set up, you can elect a “Clearinghouse Administrator” to manage all the users on your account (so multiple authorized people can access and report your driver data).

When should I register?

It’s a good idea to start the process now (Fall 2019), become familiar with the website, and address any questions you have before required usage begins in January 2020.

What happens if I don’t register or use the database?

Employers who don’t comply with the latest FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements are subject to criminal penalties and/or civil fines, not to exceed $2,500 for each offense.

What happens after I register? How must employers use the clearinghouse?

There are five things employers will be required to do, beginning on January 6, 2020:

  • Conduct a full query of the clearinghouse, as part of every pre-employment driver investigation process.
  • Conduct limited queries, at least annually, for every driver on your payroll.
  • Request electronic consent from the driver for any full query, including pre-employment queries.
  • Report your drivers’ drug and alcohol program violations.
  • Record any negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan, for any driver you employ with unresolved violations.

Are CDL drivers required to register?

No, your drivers aren’t required to register… BUT they need to be registered in order to view the information in their file. They also need to be registered in order to give electronic consent for a full query request from a current or prospective employer. So, it makes sense to encourage your drivers to register.

Is there a cost associated with clearinghouse use?

It does not cost anything to register your company. However, it will cost employers a nominal fee to conduct full and limited queries on drivers. Learn more about query payment plans for the FMCSA clearinghouse here.

Meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to call our team of business insurance experts with any questions about your company vehicles, drivers, etc: 508.339.2951. We’re Massachusetts’ leading experts in fleet safety data and comprehensive coverage for commercial trucks and equipment.

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