In early 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse to eliminate loopholes that allowed truckers who abused substances to continue to work. The clearinghouse is a database that lists truck drivers and any substance abuse violations received by them. Employers of CDL drivers have an obligation to register their drivers in the clearinghouse by a specified date.
However, Fleet Owner reports that many trucking companies have failed to register their drivers with the clearinghouse or run queries about whether they have substance abuse violations. Many U.S. trucking companies fail to do so even though they face serious sanctions for not complying.
Fleet owners who fail to register with the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse stand to face civil and criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for failing to register drivers may vary. However, fleet owners who do not do so may face fines as high as $2,500 for each offense.
Trucking companies have a duty to run either limited or full queries about each truck driver they employ. Limited queries reveal whether a trucker has any drug or alcohol violations, but they do not go into detail about those violations. A full query provides detailed information about a truck driver’s specific violations and requires a truck driver’s electronic consent.
Employers that fail to register with the FMCSA clearinghouse may be less likely to identify drivers who commit substance abuse violations. Industry authorities note that there is still a long way to go before all fleet owners comply with registry requirements as mandated.