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March 2020: Clearing Up the Clearinghouse

The Clearinghouse is functioning again

Between March 5 and March 9, FMCSA wasn’t able to verify a driver’s CDL#.  For those 5 days MROs and employers couldn’t enter violations on a driver’s record.  That’s probably why you couldn’t get to a driver’s record.  As you may have noticed in the March 10th e-mail from FMCSA, MROs were asked to enter violations that they verified on and after March 5.  Go back to those records and enter dates now.

I saw a driver, but there was no violation on his record.  What do I do now?  Can I just skip it?

No, you can’t skip it!  If this was a violation after January 6, it needs to be recorded, including assessment and return-to-duty eligibility dates.  The driver needs to tell you when it’s on their record, the driver needs to request you to be the SAP (after-the-fact), and you need to go to the driver’s record to record the assessment and eligibility dates.  Without those dates, the driver can’t be hired by any FMCSA employer in the future.

Accuracy on the Clearinghouse

Dates that you enter on a driver’s record must be accurate.  If you realize that you just entered a wrong date, you can’t correct it.  You must send an e-mail to the Clearinghouse and ask them to correct it for you.
Mistakes happen.  An MRO entered the wrong birthdate for a driver, so the violation didn’t appear on the driver’s record.  If one number of a CDL# is incorrect, the violation won’t go onto the driver’s record.
A SAP enters only two dates on the Clearinghouse.  When you enter those dates, use the drop-down calendar to be certain that the date is entered in the correct format.  If a driver hasn’t complied, you don’t enter anything.  Leave it blank.  As long as the return-to-duty eligibility date is blank, the driver can’t be hired.

I went to my dashboard today, and I found a request from a driver three days ago.

As I suggested in an earlier e-mail, SAPs should make a point of checking their dashboard at least once a day.  Click “Accept” and expect the driver to call you.

A SAP can’t order a return-to-duty test

The return-to-duty test isn’t your responsibility.  Only an employer can order a return-to-duty test, and that will happen when the driver returns to their employer, or when they get a new job with a new employer.  That employer will have to conduct a return-to-duty test.  If the test is negative, the employer will enter the date of that test in the driver’s record. 

Failing a DOT physical is not a violation, and it can’t have a SAP process

I still hear from SAPs who think that failing a DOT physical requires a SAP return-to-duty process.  It doesn’t.  Failing a physical is not a violation of 49 CFR Part 382, and it cannot have a SAP process.  It requires only a simple vanilla assessment:  Does the driver have a problem with drugs or alcohol, or don’t they?  Send that letter to the DOT Medical Examiner who ordered the evaluation, NOT to the employer.  No SAP report, no treatment recommendation, no return-to-duty test, no follow-up testing plan.  It is NOT a violation.

SAP Training in Baltimore, April 24-25

There’ll be lots of discussion about the Clearinghouse at Tamara Cagney’s update training in Baltimore on April 24-25.  The two-day training includes 6 pop quizzes instead of a big test at the end.
Go to EAPA SAP Training Registration

FTA’s Annual Conference, San Diego, April 14-16.  FREE!

The 15th Annual FTA Drug and Alcohol Program National Conference will be held on April 14-16, 2020 in San Diego, CA. This free three-day conference will provide attendees with background on Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operators (49 CFR Part 655) and Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs (49 CFR Part 40).
SAPs who have attended this conference in the past have found it useful and informative.  Meet employers, hear from industry experts, and go home with loads of materials and publications.
Yes, it’s free.  You’ll have to cover your own hotel and daily expenses.  But there is no fee for registering.
However, SAPs need to understand that this conference can’t be used to meet your SAP continuing education requirement of 12 hours.  This has been DOT's position every year since the conference began.
To register,
Go to FTA's Conference Registration

SAPlist UREMINDER: SAPlist U For Your Continuing Ed Requirement

SAPlist U provides 12 hours of continuing education related to DOT's testing rules.  It is endorsed by EACC, NASW, and NBCC.  It’s online, convenient, and you can complete it at your own pace.

Go to SAPlist U Continuing Ed
Until next time,

Lee Mauk signature

Lee Mauk  | and SAPlist U
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