How DriverReach Is Helping Its Customers Be Compliant With FMCSA's Upcoming Clearinghouse Rule

In January 2020, FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule will come into full effect, which will impact the way carriers and CDL driver recruiters qualify and hire drivers. 

While this program will add new processes to the CDL recruiters’ plate, it will also play a key role in the safety of everyone on the road. FMCSA estimates that this new program will eliminate nearly 900 crashes every year and will result in a benefit of around $196 million. On the flip side, carriers and CDL driver recruiters will be intimately involved with most aspects of the program. In the midst of these changes, DriverReach is helping its customers adapt and remain compliant with the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Here’s what you need to know: 

Step 1: Stay Up-to-Date on Key Information 

Education regarding the Clearinghouse is key. DriverReach hosted a webinar (now on-demand) and created an ebook titled, “Brace Yourself: The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Brings New Challenges to Recruiting Drivers” to help educate the industry. 

The FMCSA has also done a great job with their effort to inform and educate all stakeholders, as well. We highly recommend visiting the Clearinghouse website and signing up to receive email updates and notifications.

Step 2: Understand New DriverReach Features 

DriverReach will be incorporating new features and functionality to make the process as smooth as possible (keep in mind, FMCSA – the government – has created this Clearinghouse and will be managing it. It will NOT be as efficient as it could be, but later versions will improve upon the short-comings we’ll all experience in January and beyond).

Companies hiring drivers to perform safety-sensitive functions (aka commercial driving) will be required to run a pre-employment full-query on each applicant prior to hiring them and placing them in a safety-sensitive position. This will be a part of every company’s qualification process going forward. 

DriverReach will be incorporating the following Clearinghouse-related items to the platform:

  1. For starters, it will be critical for all CDL drivers to register with the Clearinghouse  – or at least the drivers who intend to change jobs. Beginning in November, we will add a link to the Clearinghouse on the success page of our driver application and ‘short-form’ page, along with language that encourages drivers to register now. They won’t be able to be hired by any company they are applying to if they aren’t registered with the Clearinghouse. 
  2. The DQ File component of DriverReach’s platform will include a place to store the results of the pre-employment full query on the driver. Customers will be able to upload the result and file it there. This will be necessary as it becomes part of the DQ file. Additionally, a checkbox will be added so customers can indicate that they submitted a pre-employment full query request (pending driver’s consent). This will allow customers to see which drivers they have / haven’t submitted requests for yet. 
  3. As part of the Annual Review process, employers will need to run a limited query (or full) no less than once per year. DriverReach will include the accommodation of the Clearinghouse Annual Review process. Employers will need “authorization” from each driver before they can run a limited query. Note: This is not the same as the consent required in a full query. Drivers will need to sign a document such as this Sample Limited Consent Form. This will be filed, as well, including a checkbox to determine which drivers have / haven’t signed the limited query consent form.  
  • DriverReach will give customers the option to include a limited query consent form in the DOT application to ensure it is on file should the applicant be hired. In order to collect a signed limited consent form for all existing hired drivers, DriverReach will provide a separate form that can be sent via email or text. 
  • For larger employers who want to run queries in bulk (this will be an option in the Clearinghouse website), DriverReach will provide a Clearinghouse Bulk Export function that will be formatted for upload to the Clearinghouse.

By incorporating the above features and functionality, DriverReach will ensure our customers are best prepared and equipped to comply with the new Clearinghouse regulation. As the Clearinghouse continues to evolve, DriverReach will adapt with ongoing development to further enhance the user experience.

Note: There will not be an integration with the Clearinghouse (like NIC for PSP reports), nor is there an integration with other background check providers. That will likely come later, but it won’t be part of the initial rollout. Users will need to login to the Clearinghouse separately to run a query, view and download the results, etc.

Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

Interested in seeing DriverReach’s modern Recruiting Management System in action? Request a demo!


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