On January 6, 2020, motor carriers must begin using a new, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-created Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse to screen for drivers who are ineligible to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations. The new system will make it harder for drivers to evade the consequences of a positive DOT drug or alcohol test by making it easier for motor carriers to identify them.
For the first 3 years, carriers must both check the clearinghouse and manually check with previous employers; after that period a check of the clearinghouse itself will suffice.
The FMCSA estimates the new rules will eliminate almost 900 crashes annually and result in a total benefit to society of $196 million.
Carriers’ responsibilities under the new system include:
- Checking with previous employers for the first three years
- Annual “limited queries” for all their drivers
- Obtaining consent from drivers for the annual queries
- Uploading data to the clearinghouse
- Maintaining records of violations for 5 years
Experts advise that early preparation will be key to success for carriers. Get a complete update on the requirements, “The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse – FMCSA Next Mandate on the Motor Carrier Industry.”