Back in 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came up with a plan to improve trucking safety, especially those pertaining to drivers under the influence. That plan, dubbed the Federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, is now fully established and will officially launch in January.
We’ll go over what you need to know about the new FMCSA Clearinghouse.
What is the FMCSA’s Clearinghouse?
Clearinghouse is an electronic database filled with information about individual truck drivers. Any time a truck driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs, a record of the incident is added to the Clearinghouse.
If you refuse to be tested? That information goes into the system too. And if you have to complete a return-to-duty process, due to an alcohol or drug violation, that info is also stored in the database.
With all this information stored in a central location, companies can screen for drivers with a record of drug use or accidents. When hiring, especially if the driver is jumping from one trucking company to another, the new company can check the FMCSA Clearinghouse and get a full drug-related background check.
If the truck driver gives their consent, that is.
Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse Required for Truck Drivers?
The short answer is “no.” Truck drivers are not required to submit info to the Clearinghouse. Registering for the FMCSA Clearinghouse is voluntary for both the truck driver and the trucking company.
But truck drivers will probably want to register anyway.
How Will Employers Use the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
Potential use of the Clearinghouse seems almost like a Catch-22 for truck drivers.
Drivers can refuse to give consent to check the database during the hiring process. But more than likely, the trucking company is going to see this as an admission of guilt.
If a truck driver has a record, that person will either register with Clearinghouse and admit guilt, or the potential employer will take their absence from the database as proof of guilt.
Either way, the trucking company might just move onto the next candidate. As a result, most drivers will simply want to opt in to avoid the massive headaches.
What about False Claims in the Clearinghouse?
Fortunately, truck drivers can view their records at any time if they register. We recommend checking your record consistently to make sure there are no false claims or wrong entries.
How Do You Register for FMCSA Clearinghouse?
If you would like to register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse, so you can at this link. An email address is required to create an account and log in.
That said, if you would like more information or have additional questions about Clearinghouse, you should visit the FMCSA website, here.