Beginning January 6, 2020, employers or their designated consortium/third party administrators (C/TPAs) will be required to conduct queries to determine whether their current and prospective employees as prohibited from performing in safety-sensitive job positions, such as operating commercial motor vehicles, due to unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.
The tables below have answers to the FAQs that employers have about their upcoming requirements to query the Clearinghouse:
General DOT Query FAQs
Employers are required to make a pre-employment query for each driver in the Clearinghouse and at least one query each year for each driver during employment. The type of query required is further described in the table below.
Some drivers are employed by more than one carrier. If another employer your driver works for reports a violation to the Clearinghouse, you will not want to wait until their annual query to obtain this information, or you may be liable for allowing a driver to operate in a safety sensitive position despite his/her ineligibility to do so.
Employers will need to have the driver’s CDL Number and state of issuance to query the driver’s Clearinghouse record.
Yes. The employer or the C/TPA will upload a tab-delimited file containing the following information for each driver that will be queried:
- Last Name
- First Name
- Date of Birth
- A Number 1-4 Representing Query Type: 1 – Limited; 2 – Full; 3 – Pre-employment; 4 – Limited with Automatic Consent Request.
Automatic Consent Request means that, if a limited query returns that the driver has violation information in his/her Clearinghouse record, the Clearinghouse will automatically submit a request from your employer to that driver for his/her consent to a full query.
Yes. Only violations occurring after January 6, 2020 will be available in the Clearinghouse, so employers will need to conduct traditional verifications with their drivers’ past DOT-regulated employers in addition to querying the Clearinghouse until January 2023.
Employers will be charged a fee by the FMCSA for full and limited queries of $1.25 per query (plus any services costs incurred by using a C/TPA). Queries must be purchased in batches, and these will never expire.
Unlimited packages are also available for high-volume employers. Unlimited packages cost $24,000 and must be renewed annually.
Employers must purchase queries directly from the Clearinghouse, as C/TPAs are unable to purchase queries for their customers.
Disputes will be handled by the FMCSA, which will notify drivers of its decision within 14 days if the record in question is prohibiting the driver from performing safety-sensitive job functions or within 45 days if it is not.
FMCSA will notify any employers that have viewed a record that has been changed after the outcome of their review.
Full Query v. Limited Query FAQs
Must conduct a limited or full query at least once every year for all drivers.
An employer must conduct a pre-employment query for a prospective driver in the Clearinghouse prior to hiring the driver for a position requiring him or her to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Must conduct a full query if a limited query returns any results.
Limited queries require only a general consent, which must be obtained outside of the Clearinghouse. Employers can find an example limited-query consent form here.
General consent is not required on an annual basis, as it may be effective for more than one year. However, the form must specify the timeframe the driver is providing consent for.
Full queries require electronic consent provided in the driver’s portal. If a driver is not registered before consent is requested, the process will be significantly delayed.
Consent is required prior to each search and must be received by the employer within 24 hours. Failure to consent would require the driver to be removed from safety sensitive functions.
Notification about whether the driver’s Clearinghouse record has any information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations
Does not provide specific information about violations.
Detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record.
Have additional DOT query questions?
Don't miss our upcoming webinar!
The Clearinghouse - Potential Landmines and How to Avoid Them
ESS Webinar | November 6 at 10 am Central
Hosted by DOT Expert Thomas Eden, III
Attorney with Constangy, Brooks, Smith, & Prophete, LLP