There have been rumblings about the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for years, and it appears that it is finally a reality. While many of our clients like the idea of quickly accessing a database to view if a potential candidate has recently failed a drug and alcohol test, the question is will the government roll out a system that’s easy to maintain and use? The notes how this will be released has been coming in drips but it’s very clear there will be new administrative duties for your staff.
- No drug testing requirements will change with the Clearinghouse
All existing DOT testing procedures and rules will remain in place and won’t be affected by the Clearinghouse. Breathe easy - there are no new screens to worry about or budget for.
- The Clearinghouse will help track results for drivers who move between states
The new system will make it much easier to obtain results for drivers who are coming across state lines or hold licenses from other states. The Clearinghouse also has said that it will specifically identify drivers who have to move around frequently in order to have the most up to date information.
- Employees who register will be able to access and use the Clearinghouse
Drivers, managers and Medical Review Officers will be able to register and use the Clearinghouse to upload and access records. Managers and other administrators will also be able to send drivers messages to complete certain actions, such as filling out consent forms. Everyone using the system will need to complete a consent form.
- Drivers do not have to register for the Clearinghouse
There is no rule that says a driver HAS to fill out the paperwork to register on the Clearinghouse, BUT they will need to fill out a Clearinghouse consent form for you to access their data. If drivers are going to register, the DOT has encouraged them to do so before the January 6th online date for faster access.
- The Clearinghouse will not make any serious changes to your hiring process
While drivers may need some help with registration, which does take a little time, nothing significantly different should affect your hiring process. We’re recommending that our clients add a link to the Clearinghouse at the end of our online DOT Application and release forms to streamline this process ahead of pre-employment testing. Make it the last step in your online application process to avoid your candidate leaving your site before everything else has been completed.
You will find all the information on the Clearinghouse at their website. We recommend starting now register your drivers registered by January 6th at this page: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Register
Feel free to contact us with any specific questions on how the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse will affect your business and how best to set up your driver screening and uploading random results.