DOT Increases Fines for Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Requirements

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule allowing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to fine drivers, carriers, and Medical Review Officers (MROs) up to $5,833 for each violation of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse at 49 CFR part 382 subpart G. According to the DOT; the final rule states: “Any employer, employee, medical review officer, or service agent who violates any provision of 49 CFR part 382, subpart G … is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,833.”

The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 requires the FMCSA to pass a yearly regulation updating fines due to inflation. This amount more than doubles the $2,500 per violation previously set in a statute that existed prior to the clearinghouse and hadn’t changed since 1986.

Some additional fine increases, but not all, include:

  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) violations up to $5,833.
  • Financial responsibility violations up to $17,213.
  • Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV by driver) up to $19,277.
  • Out-of-service order (operation by driver of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) up to $1,928.
  • Out-of-service order (failure to cease operations as ordered) up to $27,813.

A complete list of fine changes and the entire rule can be found here.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

The FMCSA Clearinghouse contains records of drug and alcohol violations per FMCSA regulations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. This helps employers identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations, further protecting their company by filtering out employees.

For the first three years, or until January 6, 2023, in addition to procuring the new FMCSA clearinghouse report, employers are required to continue processing the manual verification requests with all former employers (in the previous three years) as they onboard new commercial drivers. DISA Global Solutions can conduct your queries to check if prospective employees are prohibited from jobs that require safety-sensitive related work, such as operating CMVs, due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation. DISA can also assist in the annual queries that employers are required to run.

What Can DISA Do?

Every year regulations and rules continue to change, making it increasingly difficult for employers to keep up. As your trusted TPA, DISA helps employers maintain compliance regardless of the DOT agency you report to. Our transportation services cover FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG, including complete DOT drug testing compliance solutions. DISA’s Transportation Compliance (DTC) team can assist employers with transportation regulations, rules, and requirements to ensure their drivers are remaining safe on the road. By committing to public safety, employers can prevent risks, fines, fees, and potential lawsuits.

Helpful Links:

· FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

· Federal Register Rules and Regulations

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About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.