Answering 7 questions about CDL driver violations and Clearinghouse

If you’re an employer at a tow truck business, you might be wondering about the FMCSA’s relatively new Clearinghouse. As the employer, you might have some questions about how the entire thing works, particularly when it comes to reporting driver violations and the contents of the driver’s Clearinghouse record. We’ll answer a few common questions that employers might have about the DOT Clearinghouse.

7 questions about driver violations and Clearinghouse.

1. Can employers see violations about current employees that were recorded by other employers?

As an employer, you can do a limited query, although you need to have the proper consent from the driver (which, in this case, would come from outside the Clearinghouse). Now, the limited query might show that there are indeed records in Clearinghouse. To get more details, the employer would have to get the appropriate consent for a full query. An employer can do a full query at any time so long as they get the appropriate consent from the driver.

2. Will the employer be told about changes in Clearinghouse?

Yes. Employers will be told of a change in the Clearinghouse within 30 days of a pre-employment query being done. Now, keep in mind that the employer would have to get the driver’s consent to see the updated information. So, the employers can be notified of changes in the Clearinghouse.

3. How long will the CDL driver’s violation records be available for release to employers?

Driver violations will be accessible in the Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation, or until the violation is sorted out by the completion of the return-to-duty process and follow-up testing plan – whichever one is later.

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4. Will the driver’s follow-up testing plan be in the Clearinghouse?

No, the driver’s follow-up testing plan won’t be visible in the Clearinghouse. When the prospective employee hasn’t finished the Substance Abuse Professional’s follow-up testing plan, the new employer has to get the follow-up plan from the former employer as per §382.413. Then they need to report the date that the driver finished the testing plan.

5. How is information about driver violation and return-to-duty entered into Clearinghouse?

As per the regulations outlined in §382.705…

  • Employers or consortium/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) enter the drug and alcohol violation information
  • Medical Review Officers enter drug violation information into the Clearinghouse record (now, it’s important to note that the driver doesn’t have to be registered in the Clearinghouse for the violation to be added to their Clearinghouse record)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals enter date of the initial substance abuse assessment, along with the date that the driver can do return-to-duty testing
  • The employer records negative return-to-duty test results (along with the date that the follow-up plan has been completed)

6. What violation and return-to-duty information must be reported by employers?

As per the regulations found in §382.705(b) the following needs to be reported in the Clearinghouse…

  • An alcohol test result with a .04 alcohol concentration
  • A CDL driver refuses to do a DOT test for drug and alcohol use
  • Actual knowledge of drug or alcohol violations as per §382.107
  • Negative test results for return-to-duty
  • The date that the driver finished the follow-up tests that the Substance Abuse Professional requested

7. How much time do employers have to record an employee’s drug and alcohol violation?

The employers have until the end of the third business day after they became aware of the violation information. It’s important to be prompt and punctual with these things.

So, those are a few common questions about driver violations and how Clearinghouse works. There are a lot of details about Clearinghouse that it’s important to know about. Trucking businesses have a lot of regulations to be aware of!

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Another important thing that towing businesses have to consider is tow truck insurance. Our team would be happy to help you get the right insurance to protect your business. We work with a lot of towing companies, as you can imagine, so we understand the risks tow operators face. You can get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

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