Recent News & Updates

My Driver Failed A Drug Test, What Now?

Trucking

When a driver has a verified positive drug test or refuses to test, the driver must be removed from a safety-sensitive function immediately per 49 CFR 382.501. No employer shall permit any driver to perform safety-sensitive functions; including driving a commercial motor vehicle, if the driver has engaged in conduct prohibited by Subpart B of this part or any alcohol or controlled substance rule of another DOT agency. The employer must present the driver with a list of Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) per 40.287. The list must be provided to the driver (or driver applicant) whether or not the carrier retains the driver in their employment. Retention of the driver would be based on the company policy.

In order to resume a safety-sensitive function, the driver must complete the Return-to-Duty Process of Subpart O of Part 40. The driver cannot perform a safety-sensitive function again until all the necessary steps are completed:

  1. The driver must seek a face-to-face evaluation from a SAP. (Payment of the evaluation is based on management-labor agreements and healthcare benefits and is not required of the employer under the FMCSRs.)
  2. The SAP will refer the driver to an appropriate treatment and education program.
  3. The driver must complete the required treatment and education and return to the SAP for another face-to-face evaluation.
  4. If the SAP is satisfied that the driver is able to return to driving, he/she will issue a report on his/her findings to the Designated Employer Representative.
  5. This report will list any continuing treatment and education, if required, and the number of DOT follow-up drug and/or alcohol tests required in a given time frame. The driver will be required to have a minimum of six unannounced follow-up tests in the first 12 months following the employee’s return to a safety-sensitive function. The SAP may require follow-up testing for up to five years.
  6. The driver now can go, and not prior to this point, for a return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test. The employer must wait for the go ahead from the SAP before sending the driver in for the return-to-duty test. A negative result must be received before the driver can return to a safety-sensitive function.

After the driver returns to a safety-sensitive function, the employer must send the driver for the required number of unannounced follow-up tests making sure that they do not have any discernible pattern.

All records relating to a DOT-drug and alcohol violation must be retained for five years per 382.401. If the driver leaves the motor carrier’s employment prior to the completion of the very last follow up test, this information must be supplied to the prospective employer per 40.25, and the next employer(s) must pick up where the process left off.

*Please note that follow up and return-to-duty tests are always directly observed.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact us!

Reviewing the Annual MVR

Magnifying Glass Reviewing Documents

(FMCSR Part 383.51)

When reviewing the annual MVR of a driver holding a CDL, the manager should be looking at any convictions for “Serious Traffic Violations”.  The manager should be assessing how many have occurred, was the conviction in a commercial motor vehicle or personal vehicle, and when the convictions occurred.  CDL holders are penalized if they accrue too many violations within a certain period.

How many convictions of a serious traffic violation should you look for?

If a driver has 2 convictions of a serious traffic violation that occurred in the commercial motor vehicle within a 3 year period, his CDL is automatically suspended for 60 days.

If a driver has 3 convictions of a serious traffic violation that occurred in the commercial motor vehicle within a 3 year period, his CDL is automatically suspended for 120 days.

Do convictions of serious traffic violations that occurred in a non-commercial motor vehicle count?

Yes, IF the conviction resulted in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges.

If a driver is convicted of serious traffic violation in a non-commercial motor vehicle that doesn’t result in revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges, the offense will not be considered.

When reviewing and evaluating the MVR, what red flags does the manager look for?

He/she should be looking for convictions of serious traffic violations as outlined above within the time periods as outlined above.  For example, if a driver has 1 conviction of a serious traffic violation, the manager should point this out to the driver and remind him that just 1 more conviction could result in the suspension of the CDL for 60-120 days.

If excessive points are on the MVR, the manager should evaluate what the points consist of, particularly if they have accumulated in the commercial motor vehicle.  He/she should then counsel the driver accordingly.  A consultation with the company liability insurance agent would be appropriate in the case of excessive points.

Is the driver required to notify the motor carrier of convictions and/or suspensions of license?

Yes, FMCSR Part 383.31 clearly states that the driver must notify the employer when convicted of any traffic violation (other than parking) within 30 days after the date of conviction.  In addition, a driver must notify his resident state of any convictions of a traffic violation (other than parking) that occurred in another state within 30 days of the conviction.

The notification to the state and the employer must be made in writing and contain the following information:  Full name, license number, date of conviction, the specific offense, indicate whether the conviction was in a commercial motor vehicle, location offense and driver’s signature.

FMCSR Part 383.33 clearly states that any driver who has a driver’s license suspended, cancelled, or revoked or loses the right to operate a commercial motor vehicle due to disqualifying offenses for any period of time, must notify the employer before the end of the business day following the day of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, lost privilege, or disqualification.

*Definition of Serious Traffic Violation

(FMCSR Part 383.5)

  1. Excessive speeding, involving any single offense for any speed of 15 miles per hours or more above the posted speed limit
  2. Reckless driving, as defined by State or local law or regulation, including but not limited to offenses of driving a CMV in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  3. Improper or erratic traffic lane changes
  4. Following the vehicle ahead too closely
  5. A violation, arising in connection with a fatal accident, of State or local law relating to a motor vehicle traffic control
  6. Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL
  7. Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver’s possession. (If the driver can provide proof that he/she held a valid CDL by the date the driver must appear in court, he/she shall not be guilty of this offense)
  8. Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or the type of cargo being transported Contact us today to get set up for background checks and motor vehicle reports! We are proud to be your one-stop-shop for DOT compliance!

DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

Transportation Technology

Each USDOT Agency, USCG, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, FAA, and PHMSA, has a specific set of rules and guidelines dictating random ratios, policy development, training, and educational requirements for employees and supervisors for that particular agency. Please refer to the website listed below for the DOT agency to whom your company must report. Or, contact your NTA, Inc representative for assistance.

49 CFR, Part 40 guidelines for BAT, STT, Drug Screen Collector, MRO Laboratory, and SAP functions are the same for most USDOT agencies. All DOT agencies test for the following drugs: Amphetamine (methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA) Cannabinoids, Cocaine, Opioids (codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone) PCP (Phencyclidine) 6MAM (6 Acetylmorphine).

USDOT Agencies

 

For this overview, “employee” is defined as an individual who performs safety-sensitive functions as outlined in the regulations of the DOT agency or agencies to which a company must report. USCG is now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security; however, the testing program still operates under Part 40 guidelines.

 

I.     What are the General Responsibilities of Employers Under These Regulations? (49CFR, Subpart B)


40.11

 

  1. As an employer, you are responsible for meeting all applicable requirements and procedures of this
  2. You are responsible for all actions of your officials, representatives, and agents (including service agents) in carrying out the requirements of the DOT agency
  3. All agreements and arrangements, written or unwritten, between and among employers and service agents concerning the implementation of DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements are deemed, as a matter of law, to require compliance with all applicable provisions of this part and DOT agency drug and alcohol testing Compliance with these provisions is a material term of all such agreements and arrangements.

II.   Fines and Penalties

Violations of any part of 49CFR Part 40 and specific DOT agency regulations may result in significant fines and penalties. For a list of recent fines and penalties, contact your NTA representative.

III.   Medical Review Officer

  • 49CFR, 121 outlines who is qualified to act as an MRO, what fundamental knowledge is required of the MRO, Qualification Training, and Continuing Education.
  • All DOT drug screens, negative and positive, must be verified by a qualified MRO.

IV.  Laboratories


Only laboratories certified by HHS under the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) are allowed to conduct DOT urine Drug Screens per 49 CFR, Part 40. 81. Examples include: LabCorp, Quest, Med-Tox, and Abbott.

V.   Required Forms for DOT Drug Testing

  • All DOT required drug tests must be conducted on a Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control
  • DOT will not recognize non-DOT drug screens for DOT drug testing

IMPORTANT: All DOT employers are required to use the revised Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form effective January 1, 2018.

 

  1. Types of Required Testing
  • Pre-Employment: A drug test must be conducted on safety-sensitive employees defined by the DOT modality with results known before the performing safety-sensitive functions the first A Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form must be used. NOTE: DOT does not require a pre-employment breath alcohol test, only a drug test.
  • Random: Drug testing is required at a ratio set by the DOT Agency under which the employer operates. It is normally either 25% or 50%, depending on the agency. Alcohol Testing, spread reasonably throughout the year, may be required at 10% or higher for some DOT agencies. Quarterly is most often used; however, some companies prefer monthly. Once the employee is notified that he/she has been selected, he/she must proceed to the collection site
  • Post Accident: Drug test is required within 32 hours, alcohol test is required within 2-8 IMPORTANT: Each DOT agency outlines the situations in which a DOT drug/alcohol test is required. Please locate the regulatory reference that applies to the DOT agency your company is subject to. Contact NTA if you need assistance in locating the specific regulation.
  • Reasonable Suspicion: Must be determined by a trained supervisor. An Observed Behavior Documentation form must be completed before requesting the test from the employee and placed in his/her file. The employee must be informed of the reasons for the testing request. The supervisor must accompany the employee to the collection
  • Return to Duty: Must be performed in accordance with 49CFR Part 40, Subpart This test is performed before an employee may resume safety-sensitive functions after substance abuse treatment. Effective August 2009, all Return to Duty Tests must be directly observed.
  • Follow Up: Must be performed in accordance with 49CFR Part 40, Subpart O. At least 6 unannounced follow up tests must be performed during the first 12 months an employee is back at work after substance abuse treatment Effective August 2009, all Follow-Up Tests must be directly observed.

VII.     Additional Required Components for an Employer’s DOT Drug/Alcohol Testing Program

  • A written policy that meets the requirements of each specific DOT agency must be in A copy of this policy must be distributed to all employees who perform safety-sensitive functions as defined by the DOT agency. A signed receipt of this policy must be on file for DOT review as well as the policy itself. NTA will provide clients with a DOT policy when the account is set up. Each employee must receive a copy of this policy, as well as sign and date the employee receipt of policy. Keep the signed and dated receipt of policy on file.
  • The employer must provide educational materials on the DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing regulations to all This information must be given to each employee and a signed receipt must be kept on file for DOT review, in addition to at least one copy of the booklet. NTA provides clients with qualifying educational materials for employees.
  • The employer must have on file the name, address, and contact information of a qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). DOT does not require that the employer keep an employee or pay for treatment after a positive That is the decision of the employer and should be outlined in the substance abuse policy. However, the regulations require that all employees be referred to a qualified substance abuse professional, even if terminated. The employer must document the referral.
  • The employer must ensure that all drug screen collectors and alcohol technicians are The best way to do this is to request copies of certification from all collectors and alcohol technicians.
  • Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training must be received by all supervisors of employees performing safety-sensitive functions. This is mandatory 2-hour training that must address signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse as well as documenting and handling reasonable suspicion testing NTA offers this training via regional seminars and on-site or written materials that can be purchased and used in- house.

Contact us today for more information or to get set up!

What Is A Dilute Drug Test?

Water In A Drinking Glass

Have you ever received a drug test result that said dilute? Applicants and employees who know they are going to test positive may attempt to tamper with their sample to pass the test. The most common way of doing this is by diluting their urine, leading to a dilute drug test result.

Diluting urine means that the donor drinks a significant quantity of water before providing a specimen, and their body is overly hydrated. However, it is possible that a donor doesn’t do this with the intent of cheating the system and simply drinks a lot of water in general.

It is widely known that some donors try to dilute their urine because they consumed drugs and are trying to flush out their system. This practice will result in a dilute drug test result.

What can be done?

A dilute drug test result can still be used. If it is positive dilute, then it is positive and the employer should proceed accordingly. However, If it is negative, the employer does have a few options to help in making the best determination.

An employer can require that anyone who has a negative dilute drug test be retested. The employer can specify that the donor retest via another urine drug test or can choose another testing method that may be harder to cheat. Keep in mind that when testing a DOT donor, it may be necessary to retest that donor under a Non-DOT policy if choosing another testing method. This would mean that the test, if positive, would not report to the clearinghouse as DOT only allows for DOT urine samples. The employer can choose other options like a hair follicle or saliva drug test, which are both conducted under direct observation. Contact our office for help in developing a testing protocol for a dilute drug test.

Illicit drug users who test negative dilute often slip through the system and get hired more often than one would think. Sometimes, these users will get caught through random testing or reasonable suspicion testing. Don’t risk it! The safety of the workplace should come first! We are here to help provide the resources needed to promote safety in the workplace. Contact us for answers to any questions!

CBD & Workplace Drug Testing

CBD Molecule

Recently CBD has gained popularity as some researchers say it could be highly beneficial to treat certain medical conditions. Many employers have questions about the effects of CBD on safety and how it will relate to their workplace drug testing policy and practices.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of approximately 400 compounds found in cannabis, the same plant that produces the compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While CBD comes from the same plant as THC and shares some similarities, it does not produce a “high.” Early research shows that CBD may benefit medical and therapeutic issues such as seizures, neurological diseases, pain, cancer, inflammation, and mood disorders, including PTSD.

In some medical marijuana states, CBD products are allowed to have residual levels of THC up to 5%. Early research of CBD products has shown some adverse reactions in some people such as drowsiness, fatigue, decreased blood pressure, anxiety, possible endocrine disruption, altered immune function, dizziness, psychomotor slowing, and diarrhea.

 Will I fail my test?

CBD itself would not report positive for marijuana or the marijuana metabolite. If the CBD product contains THC at a sufficiently high concentration (5% or higher as allowed in some states where medical/recreational marijuana is decriminalized), it may cause a positive. Keep in mind that CBD with a residual level of 5% THC is not legal in all states.

It is important to remember that neither CBD nor medical marijuana use is allowed to be considered an alternative medical explanation for the positive test result when the test is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The important part of workplace testing is to educate your staff and managers. Give us a call if you have any specific questions about CBD use in the workplace! 1.800.452.0030 ext. 0

What you need to know about DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing

Laboratory

What is a DOT drug test?

A DOT Drug test is a drug test that is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

In 1991, the U.S. Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act when they recognized the need for a drug and alcohol-free transportation industry. This act requires that DOT regulated employers implement a drug and alcohol testing program for their safety-sensitive employees.

The DOT regulations and procedures are listed as 49 CFR Part 40. These rules are published by the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC). The Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance publishes and provides authoritative interpretations of these rules. Each DOT agency and the U.S. Coast Guard write industry-specific regulations, spelling out who is subject to testing, when, and in what situation.

Who is required to get DOT drug & alcohol tests?

Anyone designated in the DOT regulations as a “safety-sensitive” employee is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. A safety-sensitive employee is someone who holds a job that can impact both their safety and the safety of the public.

These are some of the DOT regulations on who is subject to testing:

Aviation (FAA) Flight crews, flight attendants, flight instructors, air traffic controllers at facilities not operated by the FAA or under contract to the U.S. military, aircraft dispatchers, aircraft maintenance or preventative maintenance personnel, ground security coordinators and aviation screeners. Direct or contract employees of 14 CFR Part 121 or 135 certificate holders, Section 91.147 operators and air traffic control facilities not operated by the FAA or under contract to the US Military. See FAA regulations at 14 CFR Part 120.

Commercial Motor Carriers (FMCSA) Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holders who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles, 26,001 lbs. GVWR. Or greater, or operate a vehicle that carries 16 passengers or more including the driver, or required to display a DOT placard in the transportation of hazardous material.1 1 In some instances, states allow waivers from this qualification, such as operators of fire trucks and some farm equipment. Check with your state department of motor vehicles for more information. See FMCSA regulation at 49 CFR Part 382.

Maritime (USCG) An agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Crewmembers operating a commercial vessel. See USCG regulations at 46 CFR Parts 4 & 16.

Pipeline (PHMSA) Operations, maintenance and emergency response. See PHMSA regulations at 49 CFR Part 199.

Railroad (FRA) Hours of Service Act personnel, engine & train, signal service or train dispatchers. See FRA regulations at 49 CFR Part 219.

Transit (FTA) Vehicle operators, controllers, mechanics and armed security. See FTA regulations at 49 CFR Part 655.

What do DOT drug tests test for?

All DOT drug tests test for the following:

*Specimens collected for testing are:
Drug: Urine
Alcohol: Breath & Saliva

* The FRA requires blood specimens as part of their Post-Accident testing.

When are safety-sensitive employees required to get a DOT drug test?

DOT drug tests are required in the following situations:

  • Pre-Employment: prior to starting your job responsibilities.
  • Reasonable Suspicion: when a trained supervisor has a reasonable suspicion that changes in appearance, behavior, or Job performance may indicate drug or alcohol use.
  • Return-To-Duty: after a violation of drug and alcohol testing rules. Prior to returning to any DOT-regulated work function.
  • Follow up: takes place after a return-to-duty test. A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) will determine how many tests you will have and when, with a minimum of 6 tests within the first 12 months.
  • Post-Accident: If you are involved in an event (accident, crash, etc.) meeting specific criteria of the DOT agency. Contact us to determine if the accident meets the requirements for a DOT drug test.

What happens if I fail my DOT drug test?

If you fail your DOT drug test, your employer will immediately remove you from performing any DOT safety-sensitive job. For more information check out our article on “My Driver Failed A Drug Test, What Now?”

Nationwide Testing Associations experts stay -up-to-date on DOT regulations and are here to assist you. If you’re interested in using Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., contact us today!