DOT increases fines for violations, sets $5833 fine for Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has increased fines across the board for violating trucking regulations while also outlining the penalty for truckers and motor carriers who violate Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements.

In a Final Rule published in the Federal Register on January 11, the DOT increased the fines for violation of regulations in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, which requires that federal agencies increase fines each year to account for inflation.

The new fine amounts are effective immediately.

Notably, the Final Rule also “implements the authority to assess civil penalties for violations concerning the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.” The Final Rule states that “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 FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final rule went into effect January 6, 2020, requiring motor carriers to query the online database before hiring a driver and once per year for existing drivers. The rule is meant to give employers and law enforcement real-time access to a driver’s drug and alcohol violation records (including positive substance use tests and test refusals), and the FMCSA, CMV employers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and law enforcement officials all have complete access to information in the Clearinghouse.

Some of the notable DOT regulation fine increases are listed below.

  • Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV by driver) — Previous Fine $18,943. New Fine $19,277.
  • Out-of-service order (operation by driver of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) — Previous Fine $1,895. New Fine $1,928.
  • Out-of-service order (failure to cease operations as ordered) — Previous Fine $27,331. New Fine $27,813.
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL) violations — Previous Fine $5,732. New Fine $5,833.
  • Financial responsibility violations — Previous Fine $16,915. New Fine $17,213.
  • Operating after being declared unfit by assign- ment of a final ‘‘unsatisfactory’’ safety rating (generally) — Previous Fine $27,331. New Fine $27,813.

You can click here to view the table of new DOT fines.