Fines of up to $5,833 for any violation are now part of the Department of Transportation’s final rule regarding the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The rule applies to drivers, carriers and medical review officers (MROs).
The rule says, “Any employer, employee, medical review officer, or service agent who violates any provision of 49 CFR part 382, subpart G is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,833.”
The new rule gives the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration the authority to levy the fine for any violations of the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse came into existence in 2017 with compliance taking effect this month. The new fine is much higher than what was expected.
Most analysts believed it would only be about $2,500 which had been on the records since 1986. Inflation, however, has more than doubled the fine.
While most violations will consist of drivers not passing mandatory tests, another possible example would be when a carrier accesses a driver’s record on the database without receiving written or electrical consent from the driver.
The Clearinghouse now contains information from over 162,000 employers, 1,600 MROs and about 9,000 third-party administrators.
Other penalties under the rule include up to $3,230 for a first offense and at least $6,460 for a second offense for drivers convicted of violating an out-of-service order. Likewise, if an employer requires a driver to operate a commercial truck during any out-of-service period can be subject to penalties of between $5,833 and $32,297.