Recent News & Updates

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Services

In preparation for the upcoming FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse effective January 6, 2020, NTA offers:

  • Updated FMCSA Substance Abuse Policies and Driver Educational Materials to add the new component of FMCSR Part 382.601 (#12). These updates are included in the Annual Management Fee for existing clients.
    • Policies and Educational material can be purchased by non-clients for $50.00.
  • Important: Owner-operators are required to designate a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to manage their clearinghouse processes. Nationwide Testing Association is your Third Party Administrator. If you need help registering and designating us as your TPA, please call our office.
    • Managing the clearinghouse process for owner-operators will be included in your annual management fee.

 

Our clients may choose to add the following package of services to their program. This package may be billed as a monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscription.

  • Full Queries run automatically after the completion of a pre-employment DOT drug test.
  • Annual Limited Queries run automatically on all drivers, either based on a predetermined date or scheduled with your annual MVR with Nationwide Testing Association.
  • Coordination, evaluation, and assistance with all required reporting.
  • Assistance in understanding and interpreting clearinghouse data.

 

Contact us for a quote!

Reviewing the Annual MVR

(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!

What Is A Dilute Drug Test?

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

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

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!

FMCSA Clearinghouse OPEN for Registration!

Registration is open for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. To access the Clearinghouse once it is operational, authorized users will be required to request access from FMCSA by registering for the Clearinghouse. Registering is the first step to ensuring you will be ready when the Clearinghouse is operational on January 6, 2020.

Authorized users include:

  • CDL drivers
  • Employers – this includes motor carriers and other employers of drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs)
  • Medical review officers (MROs)
  • Substance abuse professionals (SAPs)
  • Enforcement personnel

To register, go to: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov

The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations.

The Clearinghouse will contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.

In addition, employers may designate a C/TPA who can report violations and/or conduct queries on their behalf. An owner-operator—an employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver, typically a single-driver operation—must designate the C/TPA in the Clearinghouse. If you choose to designate Nationwide Testing Assocation, Inc., to report violations and conduct queries on your behalf then contact us!

For more information, contact us!