CDL Drivers Many Times Left Unemployable With Clearinghouse Prohibited Status

The benefits of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse are especially evident for employers to assist them in researching potential new hire employment history. This history concerning a driver's past drug or alcohol violations is important so employers know what potential driving implications they could incur with a driver as well as know if the driver still needs to complete return to duty testing and/or follow up testing. Previous processes required employers to contact a new hire's previous employers to gather this information and the lack of response on these requests were sometimes frustrating especially if they were small organizations. Many times, this requested information was never received.

Then came the clearinghouse where employers are directed to an online portal that holds all the driver's drug and/or alcohol violations with previous employers. A great tool for employers but also a difficult process to overcome for those drivers that incur a violation and find themselves prohibited to drive. The step that has always been required of drivers in order to return their driving privileges has been the counseling with a substance abuse professional. Unfortunately, this important event was overlooked numerous times by a new employer because they never received the requested previous employer history report. The clearinghouse makes sure that drivers complete this counseling for any drug or alcohol violation. What drivers find out after they complete this counseling step is that looking for employment still can be an obstacle. This is because even with the completed counseling their clearinghouse status still shows prohibited. A driver cannot be cleared for safety sensitive duties until they receive a 'return to duty" (RTD) negative drug and/or alcohol test result. Technically, this test must be ordered by an employer so many drivers complete the SAP but are unable to complete the RTD  and so they remain prohibited in the clearinghouse.

Employers can feel skeptical of a driver that they are interviewing who has a prohibited status with the SAP completed thinking that they may have a future violation again. The company can also use the reasoning that they don't want to hassle with the follow up testing. For whatever reason employers are hesitant it is important to know the magnitude of what the driver has accomplished by competing the SAP. This is an expensive requirement and requires time and effort. Many drivers have made a careless mistake to receive the violation and have a different mindset as they look forward to completing the RTD test and driving again.

Hopefully employers will look at every situation individually and give new hires a chance if they see a good hiring opportunity. If it isn't a good fit, please refer the candidate to talk to Minert & Associates and we can assist them in the RTD test requirement while they continue their job search. Also, the clearinghouse has also provided resources for drivers to know more about RTD process.


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