The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse is a vital database that helps ensure safety on the roads by identifying commercial drivers who have violated drug and alcohol testing regulations. All employers and drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles covered under FMCSA rules must comply with the requirements of the Clearinghouse. However, the registration process and who exactly needs to register can be confusing. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on who has to register for FMCSA Clearinghouse, including the responsibilities of employers and owner-operators.
Employers are the primary users of FMCSA Clearinghouse and have more detailed requirements for registration. All employers operating vehicles subject to FMCSA regulations must register with the Clearinghouse. This includes interstate and intrastate motor carriers, private motor carriers, and drivers who engage in interstate or foreign commerce. Additionally, employers can designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to manage their account on the Clearinghouse, and the employer can authorize the C/TPA to query the Clearinghouse on their behalf.
Owner-operators are also required to register for FMCSA Clearinghouse and must do so as both drivers and employers. If you are an owner-operator, you are considered an employer if you hire other drivers to operate your commercial motor vehicles. As a driver, you are subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations and must register with the Clearinghouse FMCSA. Additionally, owner operators must designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to manage their account on the Clearinghouse, and the owner operator must authorize the C/TPA to report to the Clearinghouse on their behalf.
Medical Review Officers:
Medical Review Officers must register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse. MROs report positives and medical refusals.
Substance Abuse Professionals:
Substance Abuse Professionals report when a driver with a positive drug test, knowledge of drug or alcohol while or before safety sensitive duties or refusal, is eligible for Return to duty drug screen and follow-up testing plan.
All employers must query the Clearinghouse before hiring a driver, using the driver’s consent. In addition to traditional pre-employment investigations, such as past employment verification, driving records, and criminal background checks, FMCSA Clearinghouse queries are now mandatory before hiring a driver. Employers must query the Clearinghouse to determine if the driver has any violations in their FMCSA Clearinghouse record, effectively eliminating the ability of drivers to conceal a previous violation or positive test result.
DOT Drug Screen:
All commercial drivers must undergo DOT drug screens and submit to the 5 panel drug scren, which includes amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP). The results of positive test must be uploaded to the FMCSA Clearinghouse as well as refusals and other reportables. It is crucial to mention that this testing is not the same as medical marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law, and commercial drivers holding a medical marijuana license are still subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol regulations.
In conclusion, FMCSA Clearinghouse is a mandatory requirement for all employers and drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles under FMCSA regulations. Employers must register on the Clearinghouse, designate a C/TPA for account management, and query the service before hiring a driver. Owner-operators are required to register as both drivers and employers. The service aims to enhance safety on the roads by allowing employers to identify violations of drug and alcohol regulations in driver records effectively. Remember to adhere to the DOT drug screening requirements, including submitting test results to the Clearinghouse within 24 hours of being reported to the employer. As we embrace technology, it is paramount to ensure we are aware of the reality of FMCSA regulations and continue to work towards safer roads. If you are an employer or owner operator that needs assistance with the FMCSA Clearinghouse, Workplace Screening Intelligence has programs available to meet the requirements. Contact our Support Staff at 844-573-8378 or [email protected] You may also find more information on Clearinghouse Support at https://workplacescreening.com/fmcsa-chs/