STC has been traveling the country – physically and virtually – educating motor carriers on how to prepare to comply with the CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse rules that FMCSA will begin to enforce on January 6, 2020. As we’ve engaged carriers, suppliers, and service agents, we’ve come to view the new rules as an opportunity for carriers to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in several areas.
- The hiring process – Come Jan. 6, 2020, carriers will need to query the Clearinghouse for every new hire. This new process will be added to the many other required or recommended checks of a CDL driver’s background and driving history. These checks cost money and provide different levels of insight and value to companies. Rather than just adding another step to the process, carriers should instead take a close look at the utility of each check and determine what is really necessary and how the entire process affects their bottom line.
- Annual checks – This is another crowded regulatory space for carriers. Now, in addition to the annual MVR check, the certificate of violations, and medical card updates, carriers need to add a query of the Clearinghouse. This is an opportunity to determine if adjustments or consolidation might yield efficiencies or insight and to evaluate when checks are run, how, and by whom.
- Company policy – Company policies are often an afterthought. The new Clearinghouse rules, however, mandate an update to every carrier’s policy documents [see 49 CFR §§ 382.601 and 382.415]. This is an opportunity to conduct a full review to ensure your policy is clear, concise, and effective.
Complying with new rules, especially significant ones like the Clearinghouse, always involves some organizational growing pains, but, as STC sees it, also offers opportunities to set up your business for future success.