FMCSA Clearinghouse Regulations Finalized

Dec 20, 2016

Lowering Safety Risks

On December 2, 2016 new US Department of Transportation regulations were announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), requiring employers to use their Clearinghouse Database to better track employees who have a history of breaking regulations. The National Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Database contains information on commercial bus and truck drivers, the objective is to ensure those who have broken regulations are monitored and aren’t hired by other companies in the industry who don’t know of the person’s history of alcohol or drug abuse.  

“Once the clearinghouse is established, motor carrier employers will be required to query the system for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prohibit them from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).”1

The database is intended to be used as a tool to increase safety by keeping track of those commercial drivers who have violated regulations in the past and who haven’t had those infractions resolved, therefore making them a safety risk. This new system will ensure those who break the rules won’t be able to move from one employer to another with unresolved DOT infractions.

“The drug and alcohol clearinghouse final rule annual net benefits are an estimated $42 million, with crash reductions resulting from annual and pre-employment queries by FMCSA-regulated motor carriers.”2


There are clear safety and monetary benefits to this database, these new regulations have been established to provide safer roads for all motorists. Employers under these new regulations will be required to do a number of things in order to be in compliance with the new regulations. Employers now must use the database when looking to hire prospective employees and ensure they haven’t broken any DOT Regulations. Also with the creation of this database employers are also required to search their current employees in the database. Employers will also have to update their policies to include these new Clearinghouse regulations and report any DOT drug and alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse Database.

As The Clearinghouse Database has been implemented under the Department of Transportation’s regulations, all employers that operate in the USA or those who have commercial drivers working in the USA must comply with the new standards. This means Canadian transportation companies that have drivers in the USA will be directly impacted by this new regulation.

“All Canadian and Mexican motor carriers engaged in cross-border trucking are required to obtain a USDOT number and maintain active registration. They will use those credentials to register with the Clearinghouse just as any U.S.-based carrier would. Similarly, FMCSA will enforce Clearinghouse requirements using the same tools it currently uses to enforce DOT and FMCSA drug and alcohol testing requirements against Canadian and Mexican motor carriers: investigations, roadside inspections, and other enforcement mechanisms.”3

As these regulations have a major impact on the policies that employers have in place there will have to be a period of transition in order to allow employers to adapt to the new regulations. The new regulations are said to come into effect January 4th 2017 however the implementation date for FMCSA-regulated employers is January 6, 2020.4 As these new regulations are put into effect more information on the impact on Canadian transportation companies will likely become available.