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Moving and Storage Operations: Be aware of FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements to reduce drug and alcohol violations

This post is part of a series sponsored by the IAT Insurance Group.

Drug and alcohol violations among truck drivers increased by 10.2%.[1] It’s more important than ever for motor carriers to utilize the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

Implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in early 2020, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will track commercial driver license holders who test positive for drug or alcohol use and their required return-to-duty (RTD) status. An electronic database that tracks results. protocol. Drug and alcohol clearinghouses can help improve career adoption and prevent drivers from switching jobs after testing positive. This ultimately improves roadside safety.[2]

Clearinghouse requirements apply to drivers who drive commercial vehicles (CMV) with a gross weight greater than 26,000 pounds or who carry items requiring a DOT Dangerous Goods placard. Most fleet carriers are aware of this regulation, but many independent movement and storage operators are unaware of the regulation and how it relates to drivers.

The number of positive drug test violations will increase in 2021,[3] Shows more of the importance of clearinghouse queries. Possession of cannabis is legal in many states, but transportation of marijuana across state lines is still illegal federally. Transportation and storage companies may be affected if they do not report their drivers’ cannabis-related offenses to the clearinghouse.

What should I know about clearinghouses?

For moving and storage fleet operators who may be struggling to comply with this obligation, one of the clearinghouse’s most helpful features is the ability of third parties to report violations and manage queries on behalf of their commercial fleet. You can hire a certified service agent for This has been in place since the Clearinghouse was founded in his 2020.

A game-changing, time-saving third-party agent that allows independent movers and storage providers to get back to work and focus on their business. A limited query must be created for each driver each year, and a full query must be obtained from the clearinghouse each time a new driver is adopted.

Moving and storage fleet owners should keep the following in mind when using clearinghouses:

  • All employers are required to administer a complete query to the clearinghouse for drug and alcohol violations for all former and current employees before an employee can operate CMV.
  • Each year, employers are required to ask the clearinghouse limited questions about all currently employed drivers.
  • All employers are charged a fee to conduct a full and limited investigation.
  • Employers have three business days to report the violation after being notified.
  • Violations will be recorded for five years from the date of the violation or until the violation is resolved. Drivers must complete the Return to Duty (RTD) process and complete a follow-up test with a Substance Abuse Specialist (SAP).

Keep your career in good standing by using a third-party service agent to keep up with ongoing inquiry paperwork. However, not conforming to the DOT standard has its own implications.

Consequences of non-compliance

Failure to update the Clearinghouse for each employee may result in a CMV driver license downgrade until the follow-up test plan prescribed by RTD and SAP is completed. Motor carriers and agents are also exposed to criminal and/or civil penalties if false information is submitted to the clearinghouse.[4]

Drivers seeking new jobs must register to provide electronic consent to future and current employers who are required to query the driver’s Clearinghouse records.[5]

of IAT Insurance Group loss management team or IAT trans guard For more information on how to minimize the risk of drug and alcohol violations, see Travel and Storage.

Nancy Ross Anderson

[1] Freightwaves”FMCSA Reported Drug Test Violations to Increase 10% in 2021,” 4 February 2022.

[2] FMCSA”Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse” 2022.

[3] FMCSA”Clearinghouse Monthly Report” December 2021.

[4] FMCSA”Clearinghouse FAQ: driver data” 2022.

[5] FMCSA”drug and alcohol testing,” 2022.


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