By now, if you have heard of the Clearinghouse regulation, you are either set up with an account or have run into problems with setting up the FMCSA portal account in order to create a Clearinghouse account. You are not alone! This update is to relieve concerns that you are not in compliance with FMCSA because you do not have an account, and to give some guidance with getting the account set up. Here are the facts.
The Clearinghouse became operational on 1/6/20. This deadline requires all motor carriers who employ CDL drivers to utilize the Clearinghouse for the following purposes:
- Reporting violations of drug and alcohol violations as required by Part 382.701
- Performing pre-employment queries when hiring
- Performing annual queries of all drivers employed at least once annually
So, while the Clearinghouse became operational on 1/6/20, motor carriers are not in violation of the regulations until one of the purposes above is required, triggering registration. Therefore, an owner-operator or small company that is not hiring drivers, or that does not have a violation to report, has until 1/6/21 as a deadline to perform your first annual query and therefore register.
If you are a motor carrier that hires drivers regularly, you are encouraged to sign up ASAP as you will be utilizing the Clearinghouse. If you have an existing Portal account, you should have no issue with ensuring you have the proper approval in the Portal to administer the Clearinghouse. Once authorized in the Portal you would register with the Clearinghouse. If you do not yet have a Portal account, you do need to obtain one before registering at the Clearinghouse. This process has been spotty with some recent limited success.
If you do not intend to hire or do not have a violation to report, MMTA recommends waiting until the bugs are worked out of the Portal set up process before you set up the Portal account. When working correctly, this process takes about 10 minutes. Waiting until February or March to set up is not an issue for small carriers who are not hiring and may save you much frustration and time by trying now.
MMTA is here to help answer questions and can assist with the Portal and Clearinghouse set up if needed.
The link to set up a portal account: https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login
The link to set up a Clearinghouse account: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/
MMTA has published a webinar and numerous resources on the process on our homepage. Here is a link to find that help: https://www.mmta.com/mmta-offers-first-webinar-drug-alcohol-clearinghouse/