Clearinghouse website experiencing ‘connectivity issues’

January 7, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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One day into the implementation date of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program the agency announced that it is attempting to correct “connectivity issues” with the Clearinghouse website.

“FMCSA is working to correct ongoing connectivity issues with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website,” the agency released in a statement. “While many users have been able to access the database correctly, the agency is aware that other users are experiencing difficulties with the website. The agency is continuing to work to resolve these technical challenges as soon as possible.”

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 holders who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. A December 2016 final rule to establish the clearinghouse was mandated by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The final rule’s effective date was Jan. 6.

What to do

With the launch of the Clearinghouse, it appears the website has been overwhelmed with traffic.

“We talked to FMCSA (on Monday, Jan. 6), and they’re trying to get the bugs worked out. But there are so many people trying to get on there and register that it just continues to crash,” said Amber Schweer, supervisor of OOIDA’s drug and alcohol consortium. “They are having the same issues with the portal account. So what they’re asking is that unless you are trying to get hired on with somebody or you are needing to do a pre-employment query on a driver to go ahead and hold off on getting registered at this time.”

Drivers, who are not changing employment, are not required to register for the Clearinghouse at this time.

Employers, who need to run a query on a prospective employee but can’t get on to the Clearinghouse website, can still go ahead with the hire “using solely the procedures set forth in (49 CRF 391.23(e),” FMCSA said. Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).

“FMCSA is advising us that you can go ahead and move forward with the hiring process,” Schweer said. “You will do the three-year history check like you still have to do until January 2023. Document that the system was down.

“The agency is hoping that the system is going to back up in a few days, so just go ahead and do your full query at that time.”

OOIDA video

OOIDA wants to update drivers on problems with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website and remind drivers that Jan. 6 wasn’t a deadline.

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.