The D&A Clearinghouse is an online database that gives employers and government agencies real-time access to CDL driver drug and alcohol convictions, driver self-reports, and employer reports of drug and alcohol program violations and test refusals.
The D&A Clearinghouse is a collaborative effort between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS). It helps the employers to know about employees’ drug usage, driver self-reports of all violations, criminal investigations, and revocations for drugs and alcohol, as well as employer submissions of driver violations.
As per the studies in the United States, the D&A Clearinghouse has shown a considerable decrease in the number of CDL driving violations and accidents involving commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers since it launched in 2004.
The studies also found that employers who use this service see lower rates of driver misconduct while also reducing their operational costs and improved safety practices. However, let's delve deeper and see precisely how it works and how it helps the employer during the recruitment process.
Table Of Contents:
- History Of The D&A Clearinghouse
- How Does The Clearinghouse Work?
- How To Register For FMCSA Clearinghouse?
- Steps To Search For Information On The FMCSA Clearinghouse
- How Is Employee Data Protected In The Clearinghouse?
History Of The D&A Clearinghouse
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 required states to record driver violations on their driver licensing systems and notify drivers if they would lose their CDL due to violations. The only problem was that this information was not available to anyone who didn't have access to the state licensing records.
In 1998, FMCSA analyzed crashes involving commercial drivers. The analysis showed that 17% of the crashes involved drivers who had their CDLs suspended because of a previous crash or serious violation.
It led to the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) launch in 1999. In 2004, FMCSA proposed that employers access information on drug and alcohol violations in other states and meet with businesses' overwhelming support.
The FMCSA and the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) worked together throughout the 2000s to create a system that would give employers access to all driver violations and allow them temporarily disqualify drivers during an investigation.
This effort also created the Alcohol Evaluation Management Services (AEMS), allowing employers to share alcohol testing results with other employers in similar transportation industries.
Finally, the Clearinghouse went into Effect in January 2020 and has become an unrivaled tool for safety management and screening of commercial drivers. The Clearinghouse is a powerful way to find the right driver to transport your goods.
How Does The Clearinghouse Work?
- The Clearinghouse is a secure web-based database that includes, among other things, driver self-reports of all violations, criminal investigations, and revocations for drugs and alcohol, as well as employer submissions of driver violations.
- The Clearinghouse provides information on whether a CDL holder has been involved in an alcohol or drug-related violation, crash, or refusal to submit to a test.
- It does not display information about events before the CDL holder participated in the program, such as arrests or traffic tickets.
- The D&A Clearinghouse only displays information regarding CDL drivers and no other federal, state, or local agency vehicles that may be used to transport your goods.
- The D&A Clearinghouse displays information about driver conduct at a point in time, i.e., with the latest date version.
- It doesn't always contain information about events that occurred more than 30 days earlier.
Who Can Access FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The Clearinghouse is available to all employers with CDLs, agencies managed by the FMCSA (FMCSA-regulated companies and state licensing agencies), and self-insured employers who use their personnel records.
In addition, to the employers and the CDL drivers, other authorized users such as third-party administrators (C/TPAs), Medical review officers (MROs), Substance abuse professionals (SAPs), and Enforcement personnel can access the FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the regulatory period of the individual's current or most recent CDL or State license. The commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver may keep their CDL even if it is revoked, reinstated, or suspended.
How To Register For FMCSA Clearinghouse?
Firstly, any employer and authorized user can register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Clearinghouse. However, any employee and employer who desire to use the Clearinghouse should register with CDLIS and CDLIS Service Providers, respectively.
Registered users can download Clearinghouse data and search by drug and alcohol tests, criminal background investigations, license suspensions, or driver disqualifications. They also get real-time updates on global violations and training material relevant to their job in the transportation industry.
However, some FMCSA clearinghouse requirements that need to be fulfilled before registering are as follows:
- Employers should have a valid USDOT Number, TIN Number, and a Motor Carrier Identification Number (MCID) to register with the FMCSA.
- Employers should not have any type of violation available on their record in the FMCSA's database.
- Employer's employees must have a valid CDL.
- Employers must have a valid email address and password to provide to the user.
Moreover, to register for FMCSA, Clearinghouse following are the steps:
- Employers have to go to the FMCSA Clearinghouse by going to: https://www.clearinghouse.dot.gov/#/credentials
- Go to the "New User" option and fill in your information.
- Click submit and verify your email address.
- FMCSA Clearinghouse will send a confirmation message to the email address provided by you, so check your email and select the "Confirm Email Address" option that you fill in during the registration process.
- Now you are in the FMCSA Clearinghouse dashboard, where you can search, download and update data needed for your business operations.
Benefits Of Registering For The FMCSA Clearinghouse
The FMCSA Clearinghouse provides several benefits to businesses. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Establishing an online presence and visibility to the public.
- Finding the right candidates by looking at their driving records.
- Getting up-to-date information about the driver and driving record.
- Learning from the mistakes of others - by using FMCSA Clearinghouse, you can gain insights on mitigating problems before they happen.
- They are reducing liability risk.
- Improving safety and overall efficiency in your business operations.
- Building trust in the organization and its operations with customers, agents, and vendors.
- Tracking compliance with the law and regulations, such as matching admissions against driving records.
- Imposing restrictions on future hiring or employing individuals who have had OUI or DWI violations, FCC alcohol-related offenses, suspended or revoked operator licenses, etc.
Steps To Search For Information On The FMCSA Clearinghouse
By searching for information on the FMCSA Clearinghouse, you can quickly find a CDL holder that has been involved in an alcohol or drug-related violation, crash, or refusal to submit to a drug test.
In the FMCSA Clearinghouse, information about current and past certificates or licenses can be searched. In addition, you can search a list of active or inactive certificates to see any CDL holder's criminal history.
Moreover, you can find information on a driver's DOT records, such as current or previous offenses, alcohol-related offenses, drug-related arrests, and violations. You can also find out if the holder of a certificate or license has taken any administrative action against them by the FMCSA.
To search for information on the FMCSA Clearinghouse, follow the step mentioned below:
- Go to the FMCSA Clearinghouse by going to: https://www.clearinghouse.dot.gov/#/credentials
- Click on the "Search" option and fill in your search criteria with your desired criteria: drug test history & results, Criminal background investigation, CDL record, CDLIS Registration Status, Commercial Driving License (CDL), CDLIS driver disqualifications, etc.
- Click on the "Search" option and enter the name, driver identification number (DLN), CDLIS number, or license number of the CDL holder.
- Click "Submit" and wait for the results to appear.
How Is Employee Data Protected In The Clearinghouse?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse provides comprehensive security measures to protect your privacy and the privacy of all its users. You can gather information on an individual's past, current, and future drug and alcohol violations through the database.
However, since the information is protected under confidentiality regulations, it can be accessed only by authorized users like employers or authorized personnel from Federal agencies. Moreover, there are certain restrictions on employers who can access this information.
Following are some of the steps taken by the FMCSA to maintain the security of data in their database:
- The CDL and related information is protected under federal confidentiality regulations.
- Any information you receive on an individual can be used only for screening purposes and violation checking. It cannot be used to discriminate against any individual.
- Employers should allow their transportation employees a clear drug-free driving record.
- Strict penalties protect employers against using this information for any other purpose.
- Clearinghouse records are not available to the public; only authorized employers, authorized third parties, and authorized Federal agencies can access information about an individual.
- The Clearinghouse requires authentication, via username and password, of authorized users to access information.
- FMCSA will only share detailed violation records with an employer and their designated third-party administrator (C/TPA) when an employer has requested and received specific consent from the employee. The employee will see the information released to an employer before consenting to the release.
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a powerful tool for employers and their hired drivers that helps establish security and accountability in the transportation industry. To perform well as an employer, it is vital to have reliable workers with a clean driving record on board.
Using the FMCSA Clearinghouse, businesses can reduce operating costs by hiring safe and reliable drivers. On the other hand, drivers can protect their reputation and build a good reputation as responsible drivers by enrolling for the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
While searching for information on the FMCSA Clearinghouse, you can determine if an individual has had any violation in the past. This information can be used to decide whether you should employ that person or not and how you should deal with that individual if they are already a part of your logistics team.
Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse mandatory?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a voluntary program, so you can choose to use it if you wish to. For a driver, it is not mandatory. Moreover, a driver will need to be registered to provide electronic consent in the Clearinghouse if they want to drive commercially. In other words, an employer might not hire a driver who does not wish to enroll in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse 100% accurate?
While the database is constantly growing, errors and inaccuracies will be corrected over time. You are strongly advised to consult the FMCSA Clearinghouse frequently so you can monitor any changes to the database as needed.
What is the cost of using the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The cost of using the FMCSA Clearinghouse is dependent on your needs and the number of requests you make. However, there is no registration fee, but you will be required to pay a fee depending upon the type of request or full query you make. Moreover, queries are a flat rate of $1.25 per query. In addition, employers can purchase a query plan that fits their business needs.
When will an employer be notified of a driver's Clearinghouse record change?
Employers are notified about new Clearinghouse record entries, removals, and updates. Generally, employers will be notified within 30 business days of any updates to an individual's Clearinghouse record or when a query is being conducted.
What happens to my driver data in the Clearinghouse?
All information on a driver's Clearinghouse record is automatically removed after three years on the road without a positive drug test or one year after they become ineligible to drive commercially following 49 CFR Part 383.71.
Can a driver correct information record about them in the Clearinghouse?
The driver can edit and update their Clearinghouse record by contacting the FMCSA through the mail and telephone. In addition, drivers can ask the FMCSA to delete any information about them from the Clearinghouse.
However, this will only apply to specific data that was incorrect or was not updated as appropriate when originally entered into the Clearinghouse. Other information about a driver will remain on the Clearinghouse for as long as it is necessary for any reason.