OOIDA provides answers about Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

December 20, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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As the Jan. 6 implementation date for FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse approaches, OOIDA is continuing its efforts to inform drivers and motor carriers what they need to do.

Earlier this week, OOIDA’s CMCI Drug Consortium representatives Whitney Bloom and Rachel Aycock took part in a Facebook Live video to answer drivers’ questions about the Clearinghouse.

OOIDA also posted a tutorial video that takes drivers and motor carriers step-by-step through the registration process.

A common question from OOIDA members is whether or not the Association’s CMCI department can register them in the Clearinghouse.

The answer is no, Bloom said. According to FMCSA, each authorized user must obtain their own Login.gov credentials and will use these credentials to access the Clearinghouse. For security reasons, a user verification process must be completed to ensure that only the authorized user is using their credentials.

Even though OOIDA’s CMCI will not be able to register members, Bloom said the Association is dedicated to helping its members go through the registration process.

“We are here all day long to assist you in registration processes,” she said. “I don’t mind spending an hour on the phone helping you – not that it will take an hour – but I’m here to assist.”

Bloom added that FMCSA makes the registration process seem a little more complicated than it really is and that the Association can usually help a member get registered in about 15 or 20 minutes.

Once registered, the next step in the Clearinghouse is to run annual queries on the drivers. Owner-operators with their own authority are required to run a query on themselves.

“One other question we get a lot is ‘I’m an owner-operator. I run under my own authority. I know I don’t have any violations. I don’t have to do any of this.’ In actuality, you do,” Aycock said. “As the motor carrier, you are required to follow suit with the rest. A lot of times an owner-operator takes that driver hat off too soon and forgets that they have to follow the requirements just as if they were a driver for that motor carrier.”

Another common question is about whether or not individual CDL holders need to register for the Clearinghouse. Drivers, who plan to stay with its existing company, do not need to register, but they would need to do so if they change companies and are required to provide consent for a pre-employment or full consent query.

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 Clearinghouse will contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-of-duty process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the clearinghouse.

FMCSA’s Clearinghouse website can be found here.

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.