What Classifies as a Violation of the FMCSA’s Clearinghouse Rule?

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new FMCSA clearinghouse rule is, “what classifies as a violation?”. The answer to this question has a wide ranging impact on professionals throughout the CMV industry. The new rule is intended to keep drivers safe, but in order to do so, CMV professionals must understand what the rule actually entails. 

Clearinghouse Navigator specializes in equipping CMV professionals with the knowledge and tools required to follow the new rule. This includes a detailed outline of who the new rule will impact, and what classifies as a violation. We’ll summarize the answer to those questions in the paragraphs below. 

What Types of Professionals are Required to Report Violations? 

The Clearinghouse rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, consortia/third party administrators, and other service agents to report drug and alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse. In other words, this means any professionals who work within the CMV industry are required to report violations. 

In order to receive the necessary education and training on how to report these violations properly, Clearinghouse Navigator has developed eLearning programs that are specific to a number of different professions. This ensures all the necessary professionals are fully capable of reporting violations. 

What Classifies as a Violation? 

Violations that must be reported on the Clearinghouse will include the following: Positive DOT drug test results, DOT alcohol results of 0.04 BAC and above, refusals to submit to DOT tests, Instances of alcohol use within four hours prior to performing a "safety-sensitive” function, and alcohol use prior to post-accident alcohol testing.These violations will be reported by the employer, their medical review officer, or their third-party administrator for all CDL-holding employees. 

The violations above make the vast majority of violations that are required to be reported, but violations are not limited exclusively to what’s found above. To learn more about the rule, violations, and how to report violations, visit the FAQ page of Clearinghouse Navigator. 

What is the Rule Intended to Accomplish?

According to the FMCSA’s clearinghouse website, “The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations, thereby enhancing safety on our Nation's roadways.” In other words, the rule is all about keeping highways, and the drivers on them, as safe as possible. 

More than 38,000 people die every year in crashes on U.S. roadways, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, and an additional 4.4 million are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. The FMCSA recognized the problem, and decided something needed to be done to improve highway safety. And out of that recognition, the clearinghouse rule was born. 

Just about everyone in the United States is on the same page in regard to improving highway safety, and the FMCSA clearinghouse rule is designed to do exactly that. With a little bit of time and the proper education, our highways should be on the way to a safer future.