The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is the largest of all of the Department of Transport modes with approximately 8.7 million active Commercial Drivers License holders in the United States. Originally a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA was established as a separate department in January 2000 to help reduce commercial vehicle related injuries and fatalities.
While the FMCSA develops and enforces standards and best practices for Commercial Drivers License holders, this doesn’t mean all active CDL holders drive trucks. The American Trucking Association estimates only about 3.5 million of the 8.7 million license holders are professional truck drivers. That is a lot of trucks hauling goods and people on our public roads.
The mission of the US Department of Transportation is to ensure the nation has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world. As a result, an act of Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish what’s known as the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
What Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a secure online database providing employers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, State law enforcement personnel and the FMCSA information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations in real-time.
According to the FMCSA, the Clearinghouse database will improve highway safety in key areas:
Easier for employers to meet pre-employment investigation and reporting obligation;
More difficult for drivers to conceal drug and alcohol violations from current and prospective employers;
Provides law enforcement and roadside inspectors the means to ensure drivers receive required evaluation and treatment before performing safety-sensitive functions under FMCSA regulations;
Allows FMCSA visibility into employer compliance with testing, investigation, and reporting requirements.
The Clearinghouse ruling was finalized and published December 2016. The long-awaited database is near completion and registration begins November 2019.
Registration Details For The FMCSA Clearinghouse Database
Enforcement of the Clearinghouse begins January 6, 2020 and includes all CDL drivers, motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, HHS laboratories, and Third Party Administrators as required to register.
Employers are required to run a full query on drivers to whom they’ve offered a job as part of the pre-employment screening process. Limited queries are required annually on currently employed drivers.
In addition to the obligation of running an employee check, employers are required to submit any Program violations they uncover into the database. This will add time, liability, increased audits and potential fines to an already tedious process of maintaining program compliance.
Talk To Our Clearinghouse Expert Advisors & Consultants
Our consultants are way ahead of the upcoming legislation and compliance obligations. We educate, provide guidance, and help manage the additional screening requirements for you. We take away the strain of additional paperwork and procedural obligations allowing you to focus on what’s important: your business.
The employee consumer data warehoused with the Clearinghouse database is, of course, confidential. and subject to protections by certain provisions of both the Privacy Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It’s therefore crucially important for every employee screening services provider to be knowledgeable and fully conversant with the protocols and obligations inherent in dealing with personal data. This makes us uniquely qualified as we already must follow ALL the requirements outlined in the Privacy Act and FCRA from our status as a regulated Consumer Reporting Agency.
Not all companies are like us and your liability and compliance are what’s most important. This is a very important differentiator in partnering with us – one that keeps your business interests safe.
Just like you we believe workplace and community safety are of the utmost importance. We are here to take the workload by easily packaging the additional requirements to the current pre-screening and post-employment screening on your behalf.
Please check back often as this page will continue to add training and education information as we get closer to January 2020, when the FMCSA Clearinghouse legislation comes into effect.