It’s been nearly a year since the foundation of the DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse as the new primary database for driver histories of drug and alcohol testing.
After a horrendous launch where the system went down for days, the Clearinghouse seems to have smoothed out the kinks.
While they say they’ve made system improvements, it hasn’t been tested hard since opening week and this is a government agency who’s not known for its technical prowess. We’re skeptical it’s a smooth end of the year.
Problems Loom on the Horizon
After the Clearinghouse went live on January 6, 2020, companies registered with the DOT had one year to get all of their drivers registered and run an annual query on each of them. That one year mark is quickly approaching and some problems loom on the horizon as a result.
According to a recent article by CCJ, only about 1 in 3 DOT registered companies have registered with the Clearinghouse, with far fewer than that number completing the soon to be required annual limited queries on CDL drivers.
As CCJ reports here, “the Clearinghouse regulation, which took effect Jan. 6, 2020, requires fleets to run a once-annual limited query for all of its drivers.
Those limited queries differ from pre-employment queries in that they only check to see whether a driver shows up in the Clearinghouse, not what information is within the Clearinghouse for any particular driver.”
We are assuming that the majority of the unregistered companies are independent contractors or small businesses. If they wake up to the regulation, it will result in a large surge in Clearinghouse usage in the next 45-60 days which will test the system.
If CCJ’s reported numbers are accurate, that means that over 400,000 employers will need to register AND run their queries between now and then, in less than 2 months. That doesn’t bode well for every carrier hitting that deadline.
While registration itself is not a fineable offense on its own if not performed, it is part of the process of being able to run the annual query, which could lead to Out of Service violations if not performed. Do you really want to be pulling a driver out of the vehicle because you procrastinated?
Follow these 6 steps immediately to double check your plan for Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse:
- If your company is not registered, click on this link to do so.
- Confirm all your drivers are registered with Clearinghouse. This is a manual process conducted by logging into the Clearinghouse and searching for each driver. Our clients have been tracking this registration all year in A-Suite so they know who is registered and who is not.
- Send all unregistered drivers a link to register. Our clients can sort a list of unregistered drivers and send a mass text message with this registration.
- Bulk send the limited release query to all drivers. Our clients can send this form to their entire fleet through A-Suite with one mass text and email.
- Batch order the limited query for your entire fleet. Our clients can download their roster in the exact format required by the Clearinghouse which is ready to upload.
- Be ready to spring into action for any driver with a “hit” on the limited query - you have 24 hours to run the full query. In order to run the full query, you need your driver to log into the Clearinghouse to approve your ability to run the full query. If you don’t get this done in 24 hours, you’ll need to pull your driver out of service.
The sooner you can get going on this process that only the government could dream up, the better. We’ve created a visual guide for you to follow this process which you can download for free.
Or, we think a better idea is to outsource this headache to our friends at ISB who will take all this off your plate for $3 per driver + the Clearinghouse query cost. Your time is so much more valuable than these headaches - try 5 free today!