Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has resolved technical problems with the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.
Trucking companies are no longer eligible for temporary relief from conducting queries within the now that the system is fixed.
Pre-employment queries became a federal requirement for carriers as of Jan. 6, when the clearinghouse opened for conducting such checks. However, the system began crashing shortly before it opened for queries reports Freightwaves due to a flood of registrations and query requests. While the FMCSA worked to correct the problem, employers had been allowed to hire drivers through manual background checks alone.
“For employers or drivers who, due to extremely high traffic volume, experienced issues last week registering or conducting queries, those issues have been addressed,” the FMCSA posted. “To ensure compliance, please retry completing those actions at this time.”
The agency reminded employers that they or their designated consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) must now conduct queries (with driver consent) for all prospective commercial drivers and annually for all drivers currently employed. Employers must be registered prior to hiring a new driver and before they can complete the annual queries. Only drivers seeking new employment must be registered.
FMCSA also emphasized that employers or their C/TPAs and medical review officers must now report drug and alcohol violations into the clearinghouse.
The FMCSA advised contacting the agency if employers still encounter these or other issues. It has also updated its learning center with additional instructions.