Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse ANNUAL Queries Coming Due
November 24, 2020
Have you completed “annual queries” on your current drivers?
These are due by January 5th, 2021.
By now, most of the industry is familiar with the required full query. However, as you may have seen in recent industry news, the “limited queries” (sometimes deemed “annual queries”) must be completed, as well.
FMCSA’s Clearinghouse FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) clarify the difference between the two types of mandatory queries.
“A limited query allows an employer to determine if an individual driver’s Clearinghouse record has any information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations, but does not release any specific violation information contained in the driver’s Clearinghouse record. Limited queries require only a general driver consent, which is obtained outside the Clearinghouse; this general consent is not required on an annual basis, it may be effective for more than one year. However, the limited consent request must specify the timeframe the driver is providing consent for.
A full query allows the employer to see detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. An employer must obtain the driver’s electronic consent in the Clearinghouse prior to the release of detailed violation information during the full query.”
Last Updated July 22nd, 2019
To summarize, the limited check tells you if your drivers are clean or if further digging is needed. This is applicable to all drivers running under your authority.
Some Clearinghouse Need-To-Knows:
- Limited checks DO NOT require the driver to register in the Clearinghouse.
- The driver DOES need to give the motor carrier consent for this query (outside the clearinghouse).
- This limited consent can be can done routinely through an annual consent – i.e. completed yearly. Another more efficient option is for your drivers to complete a single ongoing limited consent form (if it is worded properly).
- FMCSA has a sample consent form available in the Clearinghouse FAQs, found here.
- Consents are to be retained for 3 years after the date of the last query.
- The fleet MUST suspend operations for any existing driver NOT completing the consent and, therefore, not participating in the annual query.
- Should the limited query return that information exists on a driver, it will only say further investigation is needed.
- The motor carrier MUST, within 24 hours of the limited query, complete the full query or NOT use the driver in a safety sensitive function.
- The driver must then approve (through the Clearinghouse) the release of the related data before FMSCA shares the detailed information with the Fleet contact. The motor carrier will be only charged once for both queries.
- Limited and full queries are $1.25 unless the fleet subscribes to a larger bundle package.
- A driver can access his/her own data by registering with the Clearinghouse and requesting their own data at no charge.
- Drivers must be queried once per year within 365 days from hire. Since the program went into effect January 6th, 2020, your annual queries are due by 1/5/21.
For more information, visit FMCSA’s Clearinghouse Learning Center.