The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse is an essential tool in ensuring the safety and compliance of commercial drivers. However, there are common misconceptions regarding the requirements for contacting previous employers in relation to the Clearinghouse policies. DISA Global Solutions aims to provide clarity on the obligations of employers when it comes to previous employer checks. By understanding these requirements, employers can navigate the Clearinghouse more effectively and ensure compliance with the necessary regulations.
The FMCSA Clearinghouse and its Purpose
The FMCSA Clearinghouse, established on January 6, 2020, serves as the central repository for drug and alcohol violations related to FMCSA drug testing. Its primary objective is to ensure that drivers who have failed previous FMCSA drug tests complete the necessary return-to-duty process before being eligible for employment with any regulated organization. By centralizing this information, the Clearinghouse plays a crucial role in promoting safety within the transportation industry.
Misconceptions Regarding Contacting Previous Employers
Despite the implementation of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, there is a prevailing misconception that it eliminates the requirement to contact previous employers. However, this is not the case. According to the regulations outlined in 391.23(d) of the FMCSA guidelines, employers are still obligated to contact previous employers to obtain safety performance history to include "general employment details" and accident records. The Clearinghouse does not override this requirement.
391.23(e) and the Primary Repository
On January 6, 2023, the Clearinghouse became the primary repository for information required under 391.23(e). This regulation entails the collection of drug and alcohol-related information on commercial drivers for the past three years. While the Clearinghouse will house this crucial data, it does not eliminate the need to contact previous employers for specific details related to drug and alcohol questions. This is particularly applicable to drivers who held positions under the Department of Transportation (DOT) other than FMCSA, such as PHMSA, or those who are ineligible for Clearinghouse verification.
Key Takeaways for Employers
To summarize, clients should keep the following key points in mind when it comes to FMCSA Clearinghouse policies:
- Previous employers must still be contacted per the Clearinghouse under 391.23(e).
- On January 6, 2023, the Clearinghouse became the primary repository for the required information under 391.23(e).
- Clients with FMCSA Clearinghouse policies do not need to take any further action at this time.
How Can DISA Help?
As your trusted TPA, DISA 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. Our professionals understand the complexities and misconceptions that arise from the Clearinghouse and will continue to help you meet requirements.
- Report certain violations on your behalf.
- Perform queries on your behalf when requested (orders must be placed through our backgrounds services; DISA does not conduct queries automatically).
- Assist in tracking completion of queries through
- Driver Qualification Services.
Clarity regarding FMCSA Clearinghouse policies is essential for ensuring compliance and safety within the transportation industry. It’s crucial that employers understand that while the Clearinghouse serves as the primary repository for certain information, contacting previous employers is still necessary for obtaining general employment details and accident records. By adhering to these requirements, you can ensure compliance and contribute to building a culture of safety and responsibility in the industry.
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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.