DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement Update

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Carriers are being fined or put OOS for not being in compliant

It’s been two months since the DOT Clearinghouse went into effect, bringing new compliance requirements for both employers of safety-sensitive drivers and CDL drivers themselves. And while the online database experienced some technical difficulties in the beginning that suspended some of these requirements temporarily, the DOT has since fixed those issues – and enforcement is now in full effect.

The FMCSA is requiring all Safety Auditors to ask about Clearinghouse compliance during both safety audits and compliance reviews to ensure employers are complying with the new regulation. This new process will require employers to provide auditors with a list of every CDL driver the company employed over the past year so that a record of queries and consent can be established.

The areas that auditors will be looking at include:

  • Whether the employer is registered in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been conducting pre-employment queries on all new CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has been conducting at least one query a year on all current CDL drivers
  • Whether the employer has the required written and/or electronic consent to run limited and full queries in the Clearinghouse
  • Whether the employer has been reporting positive drug and/or alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse

If employers are found to be out of compliance in any of the above areas, fines and/or out-of-service orders will be levied by auditors.

As an employer, the takeaway is this: if you hire CDL drivers, you must make sure you have a Clearinghouse account and are following all of the new Clearinghouse requirements. Employers who do not comply with the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements are subject to the civil and/or criminal penalties set forth at 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C) (i.e., civil penalties not to exceed $2,500 for each offense).