What Transportation Employers Need to Know About Annual MVR Checks and FMCSA Clearinghouse
In this blog post, we will explain the Annual MVR and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements and changes for 2023, as well as tips to make the process easier.
Every year, employers that are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are required to conduct annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) checks, and to run queries in the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse /(Clearinghouse) on their commercial drivers. In this blog post, we will explain the Annual MVR and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements and changes for 2023, as well as tips to make the process easier.
What is the Annual MVR?
Organizations that employ Commercially Licensed Drivers (CLDs) are required to check their Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) every 12 months. This is a requirement under FMSCA regulations. These annual MVR reports are designed to ensure that drivers continue to meet the minimum requirements for safe driving. MVRs are comprehensive driving records that may include information such as the driver’s name, license issue/expiration date, license status, license type, endorsements, driving violations, and suspensions. A lot can happen within a year, so verifying that a driver still has a valid license is imperative, especially since not everyone will self-report license status changes.
What is the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse)?
The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations.
The Clearinghouse contains records of drug and alcohol violations under 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information is also recorded in the Clearinghouse. Please note that the Clearinghouse is for the FMSCA mode only, it does not contain information for other DOT modes.
FMSCA requires that:
Employees be queried at least once within a 365-day period based on their hire date, or another 12-month period determined by the employer, as long as the requirements of 49 CFR 382.701(b) are met.
Limited queries may be ordered for annual queries; however, if the query returns a record, then a full query must be ordered.
Clearinghouse Updates for 2023
Beginning Jan. 6, 2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will reach its three-year mark of capturing CDL driver drug and alcohol violation data for FMCSA-regulated employers. As of January 6, 2023, querying the Clearinghouse will satisfy the requirement to investigate a prospective CDL driver’s previous drug and alcohol program violations since the database will contain the required 3 years of driver data at that time. If your prospective driver worked for a company regulated by a DOT agency other than FMCSA (such as the FRA, FTA, or FAA) during the three-year timeframe, you will be required to manually request drug and alcohol violation information from those previous employers. Note that the annual query requirements have not changed. Employers of CDL driver’s must still conduct a query annually for each CDL driver in their workforce per § 382.701(b). This query applies on a rolling 12-month basis.
Closing the Gaps with Motor Vehicle Record Monitoring
Conducting annual checks can be time-consuming, however, they are necessary to facilitate the FMCSA annual requirements. Annual MVR checks can provide information on any driver violations that have happened in the past year. However, there are gaps between when annual reports are run, and a lot can happen in one year. Decreasing these gaps and having full knowledge of an employee’s driving violations and license status at all times is beneficial to an employer.
Using a third party to help monitor your driving workforce can help improve safety by providing real-time alerts on negative license status changes or new convictions. With access to all state licensing agencies, ongoing monitoring services are an effective tool and can help reduce fines, accidents, and the potential costs associated with litigation, settlements, or judgments.
Driver motor vehicle record monitoring services may help companies meet their annual MVR review requirement under Section 391.25 by continuously monitoring each enrolled driver’s driving record in states which they are licensed.
Ongoing monitoring program benefits include:
May eliminate the need to manually order annual MVRs in many states
Automates and simplifies the management of driver MVR data
Provides timely alerts on drivers with recent MVR activity, including license suspensions, revocations, moving violations, accidents, and DUI/DWI convictions
Reduces administrative time spent reviewing and interpreting MVRs
Summarizes driver data through colorful dashboards and charts
The Benefits of a Using Third-Party Administrator
Companies can alleviate some of the administrative functions of their annual MVR and Clearinghouse query requirements by outsourcing their checks to a third-party provider, such as a background screening provider. Instead of manually ordering MVRs or Clearinghouse queries for each individual driver, some providers may make batch upload processes available to significantly reduce order entry time. If a drug and alcohol violation record is found in the Clearinghouse on one of your drivers, your third-party provider may be able to automatically order a full query for you without the need to manually enter another request.
Annual MVR and FMCSA Clearinghouse queries can be time-consuming and cumbersome. We hope that this blog has helped you understand the Annual MVR and upcoming changes to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Additionally, employers may want to consider HireRight’s ongoing Driver Record Monitoring services to help reduce risk and save time.
Release Date: December 21, 2022
HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.