Companies that employ CDL drivers have to conduct queries in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. For this, they have to purchase a query plan before carrying out queries.
What is a query?
This is an electronic check in the Clearinghouse. It is carried out by an employer or their designated C/TPA. The aim of the query is to verify if a current or potential employee is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive tasks. Such functions include operating a commercial vehicle. Unsolved drug and alcohol program violations are a serious reason to refuse the employee.
Types of queries
There are two types of queries:
Limited queries satisfy the annual query requirement.
Full queries include all pre-employment queries.
Regardless of the type, all of them demand driver consent which depends on the query type.
What should employers know about purchasing a query plan?
Employers can buy a query plan in the Clearinghouse. This plan allows them to conduct queries of driver Clearinghouse records. To purchase the plan, registered employers have to log into their Clearinghouse accounts. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is the only place where the query plan can be bought.
If you are the employer, you need to purchase the query plan because you are charged a fee for conducting queries in the Clearinghouse. You must buy this plan to ensure that you and your designated C/TPAs can carry out queries. Take into account that C/TPAs cannot purchase queries on behalf of employers.
Also, working with a C/TPA to manage a drug and alcohol testing program is a requirement of all owner-operators as well.
What is the clearinghouse final rule?
According to the FMCSA regulations, the Clearinghouse final rule requires the following:
Employers must query the Clearinghouse for current and potential employees’ drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate CMVs on public roads.
Employers must annually query the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ.
How to choose the query plan?
The query plan depends on the number of queries you need to carry out. If you are not sure about it, select the large enough plan to cover all drivers you currently employ. In the future, you can buy another plan if you need it.