Clearinghouse query deadline not to be extended

January 4, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is not expected to extend its Jan. 5 deadline for motor carriers to run an annual Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse query on their drivers.

Last week, several truck drivers informed Land Line that they were having difficulties registering for the Clearinghouse and that the agency’s assistance hotline was overloaded with calls. However, FMCSA said no extension to the deadline was forthcoming.

The agency also said that a deadline rush was anticipated and that its staff is working diligently and asked for drivers to keep trying.

As part of the Clearinghouse, motor carriers must run an annual query on its drivers. Owner-operators under their own authority are required to conduct queries on themselves. Those who don’t comply by the Jan. 5 deadline could be subject to a fine.

Drivers who have been unable to register with the Clearinghouse and run their queries are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

For motor carriers who are having difficulties with linking their portal account, OOIDA suggests that motor carriers bypass the FMCSA portal portion of the registration process given the time constraints and report that the portal has not been working correctly.

The Clearinghouse will ask a series of questions that need to be answered in such a way to bypass the portal.

  • Do you have an FMCSA portal account? Answer no.
  • Do you have a DOT number? Answer no.
  • When it asks if you have a DOT number or if you will obtain one later, answer that you will obtain one later.

Once in the Clearinghouse, queries can be run.

Overload

FMCSA’s Clearinghouse website lists 800-724-2811 as the number to call for those who need assistance linking their portal account with their Clearinghouse account. According to several owner-operators, their calls would quickly become disconnected.

Multiple calls to the number by Land Line on Wednesday, Dec. 30, yielded similar results. A recording said the agency was experiencing excessive wait times and asked the caller to try back later. Then the call was disconnected. The one time Land Line’s call made it through, the call was put on hold and the recording said the wait time would be 71 minutes. Land Line tried to call the number again on Monday, Jan. 4, and was disconnected after being told the agency was experiencing excessive wait times.

The Clearinghouse website also became overloaded shortly after it debuted on Jan. 6, 2020. In the days following, the website crashed with a surge of motor carriers attempting to register and run queries. LL

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior 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 more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.