FMCSA Grants MPCS Exemption for Clearinghouse Rule

Movie set

The Motion Picture Compliance Solutions (MPCS) exemption to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule has been granted after stating that it didn’t fit their industry’s model. The exemption is for its members who employ commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders providing transportation to or from a theatrical, commercial, or television production site and are subject to drug and alcohol testing.

According to the FMCSA, MPCS specifically requested “an exemption from the requirement that an employer must not employ a driver who is subject to drug and alcohol testing to perform safety-sensitive functions prior to conducting a full query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.” Instead, the MPCS would conduct a limited query of the Clearinghouse before an employer can hire a driver for a project.

What is the Clearinghouse?

The FMCSA established the Clearinghouse rule to require mandatory use of the Clearinghouse for employers to report and collect information about a driver’s drug and alcohol history and violations. The Clearinghouse will contain violations per the FMCSA regulations, including any positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. The database provides real-time access, helping employers identify drivers who aren’t legally permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), thus further protecting their company by filtering out employees who could pose a dangerous risk.

What Does the Exemption Mean?

MPCS exempted the Clearinghouse pre-employment full query because compliance with the regulation would significantly slow down their members’ ability to hire at the speed needed to meet the motion picture industry’s demands. The unique driver employment model of the entertainment industry, and safety protocols it already has in place, significantly reduces the likelihood that a full pre-employment query would yield any information not already known by MPCS and/or its member companies. The motion picture industry employs a pool of 12,000 drivers who work for multiple employers, and adhering to the Clearinghouse full query requirement would significantly increase the number of production days and costs. In short, the exemption is needed because the regulations “prevent [motion picture driver employers] from implementing more efficient or effective operations that would maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.”

The industry’s safety protocols, and their own driver employment model would most likely already include information that the full pre-employment query would produce. Running the full Clearinghouse query in addition to their industry models, would render the process redundant and unnecessary. Using the DOT Violation Database, MPCS can identify drivers who are not permitted to perform safety-sensitive job functions based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations.

What Can DISA Do?

As your trusted TPA, DISA can help employers conduct queries to determine if a driver is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive work, as well as run required annual queries. Our professionals understand the complexities of the Clearinghouse requirements and can easily assist you in meeting and maintaining compliance.

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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 check, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.