'Fun' with safety/compliance -- low-hanging fruit to avoid FMCSA's drug/alcohol Clearinghouse violations

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Updated May 27, 2022

Helping carriers dealing with the 'fun' that can come with safety and compliance during federal or state audits is at least a good part of the life of Fleet Safety Services consultant Jeff Davis, the principal voice in this edition of Overdrive Radio. After starting in trucking as a driver, Davis eventually made a career helping mostly small motor carriers through those compliance reviews and more focused checks.

At the annual conference of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies this past week in Nashville, Tennessee, Davis offered a look into new audit activity related to the relatively new drug and alcohol testing results Clearinghouse maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration -- and common slip-ups carriers are making with required pre-employment and other checks there.

Too many, he said, are getting dinged by auditors for easily preventable violations, as he tells it. One particularly avoidable item is a carrier's basic failure to finish the pre-employment "full query" of the Clearinghouse -- and required driver consent delivered in the database itself -- before the operator hits the road. Auditors hit carriers showing evidence of driver operation before the full query is complete with troublesome "acute" violations, which can contribute to taking carriers down the road toward a Conditional, which few will survive for long. 

There’s a lot happening in terms of the Clearinghouse, too, that Davis rounds up in what follows here, certainly germane to those of you in the audience who employ or lease with one or more drivers or owner-operators. Take a listen: 

Also in the podcast: We'll dive into my Small Fleet Champ awards presentation Thursday night to the group of NASTC attendees at its annual conference – which, according to President David Owen set an attendance record with nearly double prior years’ registrations, truly something to behold.

[Related: DataQs for errant violations, crashes: Minnesota's appeals process, national reform efforts, and how to work the system]

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Congrats again to finalists Hallahan Transport and Professional Transportation Services Inc. – and the ultimate Small Fleet Champ in Silver Creek Transportation. This isn't the last we'll hear from owners Rob Hallahan, Nick Hewitt and Jason Cowan, be assured.