January 6, 2020 marked the date CDL employers were required to start using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse website.
CDL employers are only required to use the Clearinghouse when
Hiring a new driver for a pre-employment drug and alcohol record search for new employee applicants, on or after January 6, 2020Once a year to run a query on a CDL driver for drug & alcohol violations (this can be anytime in 2020).
January 6, 2020 is the compliance deadline, not a registration deadline.
That said the FMCSA has been experiencing technical issues due to high volume of traffic and users.
FMCSA has posted the following notice: If you are an employer currently experiencing technical difficulties accessing the Clearinghouse and are unable to conduct required pre-employment queries, you may hire a driver using solely the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e) (Basically, what you did before the clearinghouse went into effect, previous employment history last 3 years).
Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).