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Pre-employment queries of the FMCSA Clearinghouse

Pre-employment procedures require new-hire drivers to register for the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

With implementation of the Clearinghouse regulations effective January 6, 2020, employers are required to determine their job candidate has no outstanding violations of DOT/FMCSA drug and alcohol testing rules. Employers have questions about how to meet these requirements. This article describes the procedures needed when hiring new drivers.

Employers must be registered in the Clearinghouse

Before starting any new drivers or other safety sensitive employees, employers must perform a “full query” on that driver to assure there is no disqualifying information in the Clearinghouse database. Employers must register with the Clearinghouse to purchase and conduct queries. They may designate their service agent (e.g. CMR) to perform their queries, although CMR may not purchase the queries on behalf of the employer.

Drivers must be registered to authorize a “full query”

Since a driver must give permission online (through the Clearinghouse) for the full query, the driver must register with the Clearinghouse. This can be accomplished on a smartphone or other device connected to the internet. An email address is necessary. The driver will need to check his/her email to know there is a query in need of permission. Two-factor authentication is required as part of the login.gov setup. Two additional resources, are needed e.g. messaging (SMS) on the phone, and SMS or voice message to an alternate phone. There are other authentication possibilities but they are awkward.

Read the full text of the Clearinghouse rules

There are many brochures, Frequently Asked Questions, role sheets and a recorded “webinar” available on the Clearinghouse website. Some of the most essential information is not well emphasized, so here is a link to the actual text of the regulations governing the Clearinghouse, 49 CFR 382 Subpart G starting with 382.701 . It doesn’t clarify all procedural details, but provides specific requirements.

The registration process involves getting an account with login.gov

At https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov , employers and drivers needing a new account will be directed to login.gov to set up a username (email) and password. Then, they are returned to the Clearinghouse to provide basic information. Employers may NOT register the drivers, although many provide assistance. It does NOT appear to be a good idea to give the driver an email address in the employer’s domain, since the registration email cannot be changed in future.