Supplementary DISA Return to Duty Post: Navigating DOT/FMCSA Background Checks: A Guide for Employers

Navigating DOT/FMCSA Background Checks: A Guide for Employers


Dear Fellow Employers,

Just like the smooth hum of your well-tuned engine, your business in the transportation sector needs to navigate the regulatory highway with precision. DOT background checks, mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), are a crucial part of ensuring the safety of our roads. In this newsletter, we’ll guide you through the intricacies of DOT background checks and show you the way to compliance.


Who is Required to Run DOT Background Checks?

If you’re steering your business in the trucking or transportation arena with employees behind the wheel of commercial vehicles, you’re in the DOT’s jurisdiction. In other words, if your business involves hefty vehicles weighing 10,000 lbs or more, mini buses transporting 9-15 passengers, trucks carrying hazardous materials, or any vehicle requiring a Class A, B, or C commercial driver’s license (CDL), DOT background checks are your roadmap to safe and compliant hiring practices.


The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse: Your Safety Compass

Navigating through the labyrinth of DOT background checks is made easier with the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This invaluable database is like a GPS for employers, providing a clear history of a driver’s drug and alcohol program violations. If you employ CDL drivers operating commercial motor vehicles on public roads, you’re bound by Clearinghouse guidelines to keep our streets safe and compliant.


Understanding DOT Background Check Requirements

Compliance is not just a checkbox; it’s a detailed journey. Let’s break down the components of a DOT background check:


Scanning the Motor Vehicle Record

This is where you explore a driver’s past. It is crucial to review their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) from each state where they held a license or permit in the last three years. You’ll uncover the driver’s license number, driving history, and violations, and ensure their details are valid.


Previous Safety Performance History

Consider this the pit stop for HR. You’ll navigate to previous employers who can provide insights into the driver’s professional history. It’s essential for compliance under FMCSA part 391.23, especially for safety-sensitive positions.


Conducting the Pre-employment Urine Drug Screen

Following DOT rule 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F, this part of the journey includes screening for substances like Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, and Phencyclidine (PCP). Alcohol concentrations of 0.02 and greater are also monitored using a method approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Carrying Out a DOT Physical

Drivers must undergo a comprehensive physical examination per DOT regulations (49 CFR Part 382). This check ensures that drivers are fit for the road, assessing factors like vision, hearing, blood pressure, and any medical conditions affecting their driving.


AACS Counseling, Your Co-Driver in the DOT Compliance Journey


Conducting a DOT background check can feel like a cross-country journey, and that’s where AACS Counseling steps in. We offer you a reliable co-driver in your compliance journey, in the form of our dedicated SAPs; we are here to help you navigate the regulatory landscape smoothly. With our extensive expertise, comprehensive services, advanced technology, and unwavering commitment to compliance and accuracy, AACS Counseling ensures your business stays on the fast lane to success.

Ready to ensure the safety and reliability of your operations? Contact our dedicated team today for personalized assistance or refer a client to us, and let’s make the road ahead safer for everyone.