Clearinghouse delay should be across the board, OOIDA says

October 8, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Associations cautions that extending the compliance date for states’ query of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse could cause confusion for the trucking industry.

OOIDA’s formal comments submitted on Monday, Oct. 7, were in response to FMCSA’s proposal to extend the compliance date for three years to address “operational issues” raised by various groups, including the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

“OOIDA cautions that extending the compliance date for the requirement that states request information from the commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol clearinghouse before completing certain CDL transactions until Jan. 26, 2023, may cause confusion for the industry,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer wrote. “Drivers might interpret any delay in the clearinghouse as a delay to the entire program, thus failing to register at the proper time.

“Furthermore, states have had the same amount of time as the industry to prepare for the January 2020 implementation date after the final rule was published in December 2016.”

The Association suggests that the best way to eliminate confusion is to delay the entire program.

“OOIDA recommends that FMCSA consider delaying the Jan. 6, 2020, implementation date not only for states but for all industry stakeholders,” Spencer wrote. “Registration has only recently opened for drivers and motor carriers, who now have just three months left before the clearinghouse is scheduled to launch. A broader delay would allow the entire industry sufficient opportunity to register and would provide additional time for the agency to ensure and efficient rollout.”

FMCSA recently issued a news release announcing that registration for the clearinghouse had opened.

Commercial driver’s license holders, employers, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals can visit the website and register to create a secure online user account.

The clearinghouse is intended to be a secure online database allowing FMCSA, commercial motor vehicle employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement officials to quickly identify CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements.

There is no cost for registration.

“As this congressional mandate is enacted, FMCSA’s goal is to ensure drivers, employers, and everyone who will be using the clearinghouse are registered as efficiently and effectively as possible. FMCSA is here to be helpful during this implementation, and we strongly encourage all CMV stakeholders to get registered in the clearinghouse now,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez said in the news release.

Registration is required to be able to access the clearinghouse once it is fully implemented on Jan. 6. To access the clearinghouse, authorized users must register. These users include:

  • Drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit.
  • Employers of CDL drivers. This includes those who employ themselves as CDL drivers (owner-operators), typically a single-driver operation.
  • Consortia/third-party administrators.
  • Medical review officers.
  • Substance abuse professionals.
Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.