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Law Alert: FMCSA Opens Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Registration

by Thomas  E. O'Donnell, Brandon K. Wiseman, Timothy W. Wiseman

October 1, 2019

Transportation Law Alert - FMCSA Opens Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Registration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has opened registration for its Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Motor carriers whose drivers are subject to the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing regulations must register with and begin using the Clearinghouse by January 6, 2020, though carriers should consider registering sooner rather than later. Once it becomes operational in January, the Clearinghouse will serve as a central repository for drug and alcohol program violations, including positive test results, and return-to-duty status for commercial drivers. For their part, carriers will be required to report certain violations to the Clearinghouse and also to request queries through the Clearinghouse on all prospective drivers and annually for existing drivers. Likewise, commercial drivers will, in certain circumstances, need to register through the Clearinghouse in order to consent to specific types of carrier queries. While there is no cost to register with the Clearinghouse, carriers will be charged a $1.25 transaction fee for each required query. In the coming months, carriers will be able to purchase Query Plans through their Clearinghouse account. 

Given the impending January 6, 2020 compliance date, carriers should begin taking steps to ensure they are prepared to utilize the Clearinghouse. This includes not only registering with the Clearinghouse but also:

  1. Ensuring that their federally-mandated drug and alcohol testing policies contain all necessary details about the Clearinghouse
  2. Developing procedures for running initial queries for prospective drivers and annual queries for existing drivers; and 
  3. Communicating with drivers to ensure that they will be properly registered through the Clearinghouse if required. 

For any questions concerning the legal implications of the Clearinghouse or for assistance with modifications to a drug and alcohol testing policy, please contact Scopelitis Law Firm Partners Tim Wiseman, Brandon Wiseman, or Tom O'Donnell. If you are interested in learning more about the mechanics of the Clearinghouse or third-party training on the Clearinghouse’s requirements, please contact STC President Dave Osiecki or STC Vice President Sean Garney

 

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News from Scopelitis is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.

© Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C. 2019. All rights reserved. 

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