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FMCSA Clearinghouse Ready for Employers – Top 7 To Do List:

Procrastination is not an option.

By: Tommy Eden, Partner Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

 Clearinghouse Opened for Registration 9.28.2019

 As with most mandated Federal Regulations, resistance is futile to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse with FMCSA regulated employers and CDL Driver registration opening October 2019. The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel real-time access to important information about CDL Driver drug and alcohol program violations.

Take these Top 7 steps to get your CDL Drivers, Company, City, County, State on the compliance road:

  1. Educate your staff on all the regulatory mandates detailed in the FMCSA Clearinghouse Final Rule (183 Pages) which became effective January 4, 2017, with a mandated Compliance Date of January 6, 2020, when the Clearinghouse database goes live. You can also learn, in a free 60-minute Recorded Webinar from Constangy Partners Tommy Eden and Jonathan Martin, a walk-through of all the new Regulations, the nine landmines they discovered in their study of the regulations and wise counsel on how to avoid each.
  2. Carefully Select who will enroll your entity in the Clearinghouse and direct your entity’s compliance efforts. Because the Clearinghouse contains multiple prohibitions on the misuse of information in the database, warnings about inaccurate reporting, mandates that all reports be truthful and accurate, criminal and civil penalties for violations, it is advised that all your designated Clearinghouse users (Assistants) sign an access agreement to show good faith compliance. Constangy free Specimen FMCSA CLEARINGHOUSE ACCESS CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT
  3. Prepare for those persons you are entrusting with your Clearinghouse access, a Clearinghouse Ready Compliance notebook. It should contain the following (found in the “Event Resources” tab for the Recorded Webinar):
  4. Decide now who will be your certified Medical Review Officer (MRO), Certified Third Party Administrator (C/TPA), Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), so you can select them when your entity enrolls in the Clearinghouse during October 2019. Learn from the FMCSA more about the various Employer, Driver and Service Agents Reporting Obligations. You should also plan at time of Clearinghouse Registration to purchase by credit card your “Query Plan Bundles” directly from the Clearinghouse at the rate of $1.25 per Driver Query, which can them be used by your C/TPA, or by your entity if your upload your own Annual Query Request. Learn more from the FMCSA Query Factsheet.
  5. Order your customized Clearinghouse Ready FMCSA Policy and Clearinghouse Ready Forms Toolkit, and companion Company Authority policy. Constangy can help with a proposal for an attorney drafted FMCSA Clearinghouse Ready Policy and Clearinghouse Ready Forms Toolkit. For a no obligation flat rate quote fill in the intake questionnaire to help us better understand your compliance needs. The Constangy forms Toolkit is designed for the employer to easily create “legal evidence” supporting a reported Clearinghouse violation as fully discussed in the Constangy Recorded Webinar. Not updating your FMCSA CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES AND ALCOHOL USE AND TESTING POLICY to make it Clearinghouse Ready will put you at risk of DOT Fines of up to $11,000 per violation.
  6. Educate your supervisors and CDL Drivers on the Clearinghouse and encourage Drivers to sign up, otherwise they will not have access to Clearinghouse reports on them. Distributing this FMCSA Clearinghouse Factsheet will help educate your Drivers FMCSA Driver’s Factsheet and of Driver Brochure Reporting Obligations. Use this Constangy free Specimen acknowledgement training of your CDL Drivers FMCSA CLEARINGHOUSE CDL DRIVER ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF TRAINING MATERIALS
  7. After 1.6.2020, the Clearinghouse will contain information on all CDL Driver drug and alcohol program violations. These violations include:
    • Report for duty/remain on duty for safety-sensitive function with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any drug specified in the regulations (Part40), other than those prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
    • Alcohol use while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function
    • Alcohol use within eight hours of a post-accident alcohol test
    • Test positive for use of specified drugs
    • Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test
    • Actual Knowledge by an Employer of Driver Substance Abuse

Encourage your CDL Drivers to get help now if they have a substance abuse problem.

Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP offices in Opelika, AL office and can be contacted at teden@constangy.com or 334-246-2901 (Direct) or 205.222.8030 (Mobile) and links at www.alabamaatwork.com  and firm Employer Resource link at https://www.constangy.com/resources-testing