Are you a FMCSA-regulated business owner or truck driver prepared for the new 2023 Clearinghouse changes? Ensuring you stay compliant with the changing regulations can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is essential to meeting your legal obligations. In this article, we’ll cover some of the essential changes that you need to know and how to stay compliant with your Clearinghouse query requirements from the FMCSA.
As of January 6, 2023, carriers no longer are required to manually contact previous employers for drug and alcohol-related information about prospective drivers. This change is a major breakthrough in the trucking industry and will help streamline hiring procedures across the country.
This does not eliminate the need to conduct the three-year Previous Employment Safety Performance History required by 49 CFR Part 391.23. It only eliminates the need to make to a written/phone inquiry about previous drug and alcohol violations.
Because there is now violation data in the Clearinghouse for the last three years, there is no need for the manual process to check drug and alcohol violations. The pre-employment Clearinghouse query will provide all information needed to comply with the regulation and inform the new employer if the driver is prohibited from driving a CDL truck due to past violations of drug and alcohol regulations.
Things to Be Careful of After January 6, 2023
Overall, these changes are great news for everyone involved and should lead to an increase in safety on our roads due to better oversight when it comes to drug and alcohol use among commercial motor vehicle drivers. However, there are still some rules and caveats, even if after January 6, 2023, that you need to remember.
Commercial carriers are still required to contact a driver's previous employer if they have tested positive in the past and the Clearinghouse indicates the driver has NOT completed their follow-up testing schedule. This is an important step to ensurethe driver completes their required follow-up tests and the completion date is reported to the Clearinghouse.
More Changes Still to Come for FMCSA Regulations & Requirements
The FMCSA is moving forward with changes that will streamline the process for regulated carriers. By Nov. 18, 2024, all state driver licensing agencies will be required to query the Clearinghouse before issuing, renewing, or upgrading a CDL. While changes to regulations and policies will continue, it’s important for DOT-regulated companies to know what they need to do to stay compliant.
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