Employers were required to conduct an annual query of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse on any CDL drivers they currently employ by January 5, 2021.

PHILADELPHIA, PA, January 21, 2021 /Neptune100/ — The Killino Firm, an experienced personal injury law firm with a proven record of success representing the victims of preventable 18-wheeler accidents and other commercial vehicle crashes, reminds employers that they were required to conduct an annual query of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse on any CDL drivers they currently employ by January 5, 2021.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic many regulatory restrictions for commercial truck drivers and motor carriers were lifted, but not this one,” says Jeffrey B. Killino, managing partner and founder of the Killino Firm. “Trucking companies and other entities that employ drivers with a CDL are out of compliance if they have not yet queried the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.”

About the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Established on January 6, 2020, the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a centralized database that employers use to report drug and alcohol program violations. They are also required to conduct queries of the database to ensure current and prospective employees aren’t prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle and performing other safety-sensitive functions due to unresolved drug or alcohol violations, including:

• Reporting for or remaining on duty with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater
• Reporting for remaining on duty while using any drug specified in the regulations, except those prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
• Using Alcohol while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function.
• Alcohol use within eight hours of an accident, or until their post-accident test, whichever occurs first
• Testing positive for the use of specified drugs.
• Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test.

Drivers and employers subject to the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirement include:

• Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers.
• School bus drivers
• Construction Equipment Operators
• Limousine drivers
• Municipal vehicle drivers
• Federal agencies and other organizations that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations.

How Clearinghouse Queries are Conducted

The Clearinghouse was established on January 6, 2020, with queries running on a rolling twelve-month basis. For example, for a driver hired on April 3, 2020, employers or their Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) must query the Clearinghouse no later than April 2, 2021. The first deadline for conducting a query expired on January 5, 2021.

The annual Clearinghouse check begins with a “limited query,” which allows an employer or their C/TPA to determine if an individual driver’s clearinghouse record contains any resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations. If a limited query doesn’t turn up any information on a particular driver, no further action is needed.

However, suppose the initial query does reveal information on a specific driver. In that case, the employer or C/TPA must ALSO conduct a “full query” to obtain further information on the driver’s drug and alcohol test results, including return-to-duty testing. A driver must be removed from service whenever a full query indicates they have an outstanding violation and have not successfully completed the required return to duty process.

When required, employers must conduct a full query within 24 hours of the limited query. Otherwise, they must remove the driver from service immediately.

More than 46,000 Drug and Alcohol Violations Reported in Just 10 Months

The federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is intended to improve highway safety by giving law enforcement agencies, employers, and other authorities real-time access to a CDL holder’s drug and alcohol records. According to the FMCSA “Large Truck Causation Study,” at least 2.3% of truckers involved in commercial vehicle crashes are under the influence of illegal drugs, 17.3% have taken over-the-counter medicines, and 26.3% are using prescription medications. Alcohol use contributes to roughly .08% of trucking-related.

During its first ten months of operation, the Clearinghouse logged nearly 46,000 driver drug-related violations, including:

• 24,000 drug test failures for marijuana.
• More than 6,650 failed tests for cocaine use.
• 4,280 failed tests for amphetamines.
• About 2,000 drug tests that were suspected attempts to cheat.
• 609 tests indicating a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or greater.
• 237 alcohol test refusal.
• 152 reports indicating actual knowledge of an alcohol violation.

Overall, positive drug tests accounted for 82% of the violations reported to the Clearinghouse from January 2020 through October 2020. More than 38,000 drivers with at least one violation had not yet completed the return to duty process and were prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle.

Contact the Killino Firm Today

The Killino Firm’s Truck Accident Lawyers have helped many clients obtain the compensation they deserve after collisions involving 18-wheelers and other commercial motor vehicles, earning national recognition for the aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of injured victims and their families.

To learn more and to arrange for a Free Legal Consultation, please visit KillinoFirm.com or call 1-877-875- 2927.