Clearinghouse DOT Basics

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Feb. 15, 2023, 6:16 p.m.

Clearinghouse DOT Basics

It is crucial to the success of every commercial driver and carrier to understand how Clearinghouse DOT policies function. This way, people who work in the U.S. transportation industry can prevent receiving massive penalties from the government. Please read the information below to understand the basics of DOT Clearinghouse programs. If you have any questions, please pick up the phone and give our company a call. We’re standing by to help you and your carrier adhere to DOT and FMCSA policies.

What Is the Purpose of the DOT Clearinghouse?

The DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is designed to help keep the roads safe. Employers can search the database to get real-time information on drivers' drug and alcohol violations, allowing them to make informed decisions when hiring drivers. The Clearinghouse also provides FMCSA and State law enforcement with current data which can be used to support roadside inspections and investigations.

Clearinghouse programs help protect everyone by providing a comprehensive system that ensures only qualified, responsible drivers are operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). It's an important tool for keeping our roads safe! By using the DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, employers have access to up-to-date information about driver violations that may otherwise go unnoticed.

  • The Clearinghouse will provide employers with an accurate, up-to-date record of a driver's drug and alcohol testing history.
  • Employers will be able to identify drivers who have violated the Code of Federal Regulations and can take appropriate action.
  • Employers will also be able to see when a driver has successfully completed the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan.
  • The Clearinghouse is designed to ensure that only qualified, safe drivers are behind the wheel.
  • This information will help employers make informed decisions about hiring and managing their drivers.

Who Is Affected by Clearinghouse Policies?

Whether you're an employer with a fleet of CDL drivers, or if you yourself are a CDL driver and subject to drug and alcohol testing, the Clearinghouse is something that will affect you. It's designed to increase accountability for all involved by helping employers create a culture of safety for everyone on the road. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit

The Clearinghouse requires employers and service agents to report information about violations of DOT drug and alcohol regulations each time one is identified. This helps ensure that those who violate the rules do not simply move from company to company without their history being tracked.

  • Drivers of commercial vehicles involved in interstate or intrastate commerce are subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations
  • Common examples of such drivers include those operating:

- Interstate or intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers

- School buses

- Construction equipment

- Limousines

- Municipal vehicles ( such as waste management)

  • In addition, any organization that employs these types of drivers is also subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations, including the Department of Defense, municipalities, school districts, and more. How Much Does a DOT Physical Cost?

When Did the DOT Clearinghouse Become Official?

The DOT Clearinghouse officially launched in 2020. This was after Congress passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) in 2018. This landmark legislation mandated the creation of a centralized electronic system to:

  • monitor drug testing results
  • check license eligibility
  • share reports among agencies

The acts goal was to help ensure that drivers would be tested regularly while keeping employers aware of their employees substance use behaviors. Prior to this legislation, there were no regulations or systems set up nationwide requiring states to report such data on drivers in interstate commerce. Since then, the DOT Clearinghouse has become an important tool for motor carriers and safety enforcement officials in the government.

Who Has the Authority To Use the Clearinghouse?

Since Clearinghouse information is highly sensitive, access to the database is limited to those involved in the DOT drug and alcohol testing process. These parties include:

  • safety-sensitive employers
  • CDL drivers
  • consortia/third-party administrators (TPAs)
  • substance abuse professionals (SAPs)
  • medical review professionals (MRPs)

It is mandatory for these stakeholders to use the Clearinghouse in order to ensure the safety of all road users. All data stored in the Clearinghouse will be verified for accuracy by DOT-regulated organizations before being added to official government records.

How Do You Register a TPA in the DOT Clearinghouse?

The first step to registering a Third Party Administrator (TPA) in the DOT Clearinghouse is to create a FMCSA Portal account. This can be done on the official FMCSA website by clicking on "Create Portal Account" and filling out the required information.

Once your account has been created, you can log into it and click on the "DOT/FMCSA Forms Portal" tab located on the left side of the page. On this page, you will see several options related to registration. One of them is labeled "Clearinghouse Registration." Clicking on this option will take you to a form which must be filled out in order for your TPA application to be processed.

What Does a DOT Clearinghouse Administrator Do?

The role of a DOT Clearinghouse Administrator is to ensure data accuracy and integrity for the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Administrators are responsible for making sure that all information in the system is accurate, up-to-date, and consistent across all users. They must also ensure that all records comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. In addition, they must monitor changes in regulations as well as any new laws or legislation related to drug and alcohol testing within the industry. Visit DOT Authority Package

Administrators also work to implement procedures designed to protect drivers' privacy and confidentiality while ensuring accuracy of reporting. This includes:

  • verifying driver status updates
  • enforcing requirements for employee drug and alcohol testing programs

What Is the Purpose of DOT Clearinghouse Queries?

As an employer, it's your responsibility to know the status of your drivers' records. The DOT Clearinghouse makes this easier than ever before – you can now run queries on their records to check for drug and alcohol violations. Visit The DOT Physical Drug Test

But don't take these queries lightly. There are serious consequences if you fail to comply with the regulations set by the DOT. Depending on which type of query you choose, you may be required to get consent from drivers within 24 hours.

If you select a limited query, it will only confirm whether a record exists for a driver. it wont share what the details of that drivers record is. However, if an employer runs a full query, they can receive detailed information.

How Do I Run the Queries?

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to run a query in the Clearinghouse:

  • Go to the DOT Clearinghouse website.
  • Log into your account, or create an account if you don't have one yet.
  • Once logged in, click on 'Queries' at the top navigation bar.
  • Choose the type of query that you would like to run. This could be a querying for results related to a driver's alcohol and/or drug history, prior violations, or any other information related to driverscommercial license records.
  • Enter all relevant information regarding the type of query that you selected in order to obtain accurate results.
  • Click Search' once all information is entered correctly and wait for your results to appear on the page.

Questions About the Clearinghouse? Call Us Now

We know how difficult it is to understand clearing house DOT policies. The clearinghouse has a reputation for causing confusion all across the U.S. commercial trucking industry. You might have already viewed the clearing house com website, yet you're still confused. That is perfectly understandable. The DOT drug and alcohol clearinghouse can seem complicated to even the most seasoned carriers and drivers. Well, not anymore. The team is here to answer all your clearinghouse questions. We can make the most mind-boggling clearing house drug and alcohol policies simple to understand for every type of transportation professional. How Much Does a DOT Number Cost?

Our third-party specialists are standing by to help you out with any issue related to the DOT clearinghouse. So, what are are you waiting for? You can go ahead and pick up the phone to give us a call. Within minutes, our dedicated staff can assess you unique business and help you find solutions. We won't rest until you can maintain full-scale compliance with both the DOT and FMCSA. Our trucking registration team cannot wait to assist you!

Summary: Basic Points About the DOT Clearinghouse

Here are some basic points about the DOT Clearinghouse. Once again, do not hesitate to contact our organization if you have any questions about the information on the web page. These are some key takeaways:

  • The DOT Clearinghouse is a secure national database that screens for illegal drug and alcohol use by employees in the transportation industry.
  • It was created to help keep roads, rails, waterways, and other modes of transportation safe.
  • Employers must register with the Clearinghouse if they have employees who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
  • Employers must submit reports any time they find out an employee has violated federal drug or alcohol laws while operating a CMV.
  • Drivers must also register with the Clearinghouse and report any traffic violations involving drugs or alcohol on their records.
  • This information will be shared with employers when they run background checks on potential drivers.