FMCSA unveils Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse query plan

Flat fee established of $1.25 per query; unlimited bundle also available

Posted August 27, 2019

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the fee structure for motor carriers to purchase queries when the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse becomes accessible on January 6, 2020.

A query, an electronic check-in to the clearinghouse, will be required by carriers to determine if current or prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), due to unresolved DOT drug and alcohol violations.

The query must be conducted by an employer or its designated consortia or third-party administrator (C/TPA).

FMCSA defines two types of queries:

  • Limited, which checks for the presence of information in the queried driver’s clearinghouse record and requires driver consent outside of the database; and
  • Full, which discloses to employers and designated C/TPAs detailed information about any resolved or unresolved violations in a driver’s record and requires a driver clearinghouse account to provide the driver’s consent via the portal.

FMCSA will charge a flat fee of $1.25 for every limited or full query and offer bundles depending on need, though the bundles do not offer a discount per query unless a carrier purchases an unlimited bundle plan for $24,500.

While the unlimited plan is only good for one year, the bundles do not expire.

FMCSA will require carriers to purchase a query plan to ensure they or their C/TPA can conduct queries. A C/TPA is not allowed to purchase queries on the behalf of a carrier.

According to clearinghouse rules, queries are a required part of any pre-employment driver investigation for drivers applying for a safety-sensitive position and must be conducted at least annually for every driver currently in a safety-sensitive position.

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