First Year of DOT Clearinghouse Annual Query Deadline is Approaching Soon!

by Dec 4, 2020Idealease, News, Safety, Truck Driver Safety

The first annual DOT Clearinghouse deadline is only a few weeks away, with annual queries for all DOT-regulated CDL drivers due by January 5, 2021. If you have not yet run a query on each CDL driver you employ, (including yourself if you are an owner operator) you must do so by this date.

Failure to run these annual queries could lead to fines of up to $2,500 per driver.

The latest FMCSA Clearinghouse data suggests that there are still many employers and drivers who haven’t yet registered for the Clearinghouse, which could create a demand similar to the one we saw earlier this year when the system became overwhelmed by the large volume of traffic trying to register and login to the site. If this occurs in the weeks leading up to the deadline, as projected, it could make it difficult for employers to meet their requirements before the deadline.

Our suggestion? Take care of this requirement now before the surge occurs.

About the Annual Clearinghouse Query

Starting this year, employers must run at least one Clearinghouse query on each of their CDL drivers annually, with the first query due by the first anniversary date of the Clearinghouse. You have the option of running either a full or a limited query, but if a limited query shows that there is information on a driver’s record, you will be required to run a full query within 24 hours. Failure to do so will result in the driver being pulled from safety-sensitive functions until you are able to run the full query.

Here are the differences in the queries:
A limited query is performed annually on existing drivers. The limited query simply alerts a motor carrier whether the driver has information in the database. Drivers sign a general consent of the motor carrier’s making that is outside of the clearinghouse. Motor carriers may ask drivers to sign a consent that will work for more than one year, provided the release has an end date.

If a current driver has data in the clearinghouse, the employer must request a full query, which includes detailed information on the violation and any completed steps in the return-to-duty process. Motor carriers must also perform a full query as a part of the preemployment process on new hires.

Due to the sensitive nature of the full query, the driver must have a portal account to electronically provide authorization. As a result, all applicants need a portal account, while existing drivers would only need one if a full query is necessary.

If a driver refuses to give permission to access his or her clearinghouse record (limited or full query), he or she cannot perform a safety-sensitive function such as driving.

For additional information on the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse go to Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

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