FMCSA Clearinghouse Registration and Annual Queries Due January 5, 2021
The deadline for conducting annual limited queries, as required by FMCSA through the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, is rapidly approaching. All motor carriers that utilize CDL drivers must submit their request for a limited query by midnight, January 5, 2021. It is recommended to not wait until the last minute to run queries as the system may experience significant delays. FMCSA has indicated they do not expect any issues; however, many motor carriers experiences issues as the system crashed when the program was initiated last January. A motor carrier may also utilize a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) on their behalf to submit query request.
The limited annual query indicates if a violation against the driver has been recorded, but does not give full details of the violation. If a violation is shown on the limited query, the motor carrier must conduct a full query within 24 hours. At this point, the driver must provide consent through their personal Clearinghouse portal account, each time a full query is ran.
There are a few steps required prior to running the annual limited query. First, the motor carrier must be registered with the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Several motor carriers have yet to register. Second, the motor carrier must have a general consent form signed by the driver prior to running the limited query. This can be a multi-year consent form. You can find a copy of the form here. It’s recommended that motor carriers verify current drivers have registered and can access their record within the Clearinghouse. This rule is found in Section 382.703(a) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Employers are charged a fee for conducting queries; the fee is $1.25 per query, limited or full. If a limited query returns a result that requires the motor carrier to follow up with a full query in order to access the detailed violation information, the employer will only be charged once for both queries. There are several options to purchasing queries to fit your business needs.