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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released query plans, including pricing options, for trucking companies seeking to use the agency’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse is an online repository of data that carriers, state driver licensing agencies and law enforcement officials will be able to use to check a commercial driver license holder’s drug and alcohol violations. The federal Clearinghouse rule, which goes into effect Jan. 6, requires drivers to register and consent to carriers checking their record for failed drug tests or refusals to take drug tests. Employers are required to check the Clearinghouse as part of pre-employment driver investigations and screen each of their currently employed CDL drivers at least once a year.
FMCSA on Aug. 20 presented two pricing options for query plans. The individual query plan charges a flat rate of $1.25 per query, which will be applied to both limited and full queries. The unlimited query plan charges an annual fee of $24,500. All employers of CDL drivers are required to buy a plan, which will be available for purchase this fall.
Limited queries check for the presence of information in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. Drivers’ consent to be searched is obtained outside the Clearinghouse. Full queries disclose detailed information about resolved or unresolved violations within a driver’s record. If an employer decides to follow a limited query with a full one, he or she will only be charged once for both queries.
There are options for different packages, or “bundles,” within the individual query plan; the cost fluctuates based on the number of queries available in the bundle. Employers can pay $1.25 for one query, $125 for 100 queries, $1,250 for 1,000 queries or $9,375 for 7,500 queries.
The plan a company purchases will depend on the number of queries the business needs to conduct. FMCSA encourages companies to select a query bundle that will cover the number of CDL holders they currently employ. Companies can purchase additional plans as needed.
“As we transition to the use of the Clearinghouse, we will ensure drivers, employers and state licensing agencies are kept up to date throughout the implementation process,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said. “FMCSA is here to be helpful and to assist all commercial motor vehicle stakeholders who have questions regarding the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.”
Besides containing data on drug and alcohol violations, the Clearinghouse will record information on a driver’s return-to-duty process and follow-up testing plan. The database also will keep track of drivers who move frequently and apply for CDLs in different states to maintain a complete body of information on such drivers.