February 4, 2020
CCJ --- Fleets are now required to make queries for new truck driver hires in the CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, says the U.S. DOT, who recently updated the Clearinghouse website to note that the site is “fully operational” and that the leeway period granted while the site experienced technical issues has ended.
In its first weeks after going live January 6, a swell of new users caused the site to continually crash, causing connectivity issues for fleets and drivers when trying to register or trying to make the required queries.
Because of these issues, DOT posted a notice on the site stating that fleets were allowed to continue the driver hiring process without performing queries if they experienced technical issues with the website. That’s no longer the case, according to an update posted this week, which states that “mandatory use is now in effect.”
David Heller, vice president of government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association says he has heard concern from some fleets about whether they’ll be held responsible for queries not submitted during the site’s downtime.
The issue hasn’t been addressed yet by FMCSA, says Luke Kibby, of drug consortium Glostone Trucking Solutions (formerly known as CleanFleet). Also still lingering, says Kibby, are issues with FMCSA’s carrier registration portal website — a separate system from the Clearinghouse website, but one that carriers must access to create a Clearinghouse account and to perform queries.
“Eventually, all employer accounts [in the Clearinghouse] will need to connect to the FMCSA portal, and we don’t know what the process will look like,” he says. The Clearinghouse website still crashes when fleets try to connect their Clearinghouse account to the FMCSA portal.
The registration process in the Clearinghouse otherwise appears to be operating smoothly.