Protocols for Drug and Alcohol Testing
WHEN IS DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTED REQUIRED?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who is required to be tested for drugs and alcohol? Generally, anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) (per §382.107) and holds a CDL is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. This includes all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup, and international drivers. Drivers who operate CMVs only on private property are exempt from testing.
WHAT TYPES OF TESTS ARE REQUIRED?
Per FMCSA, CDL drivers are subject to each of the following types of tests:
Pre-Employment Testing – New drivers must obtain a negative drug test result to operate a CMV on a public road. An alcohol test is permitted only if all CDL drivers are alcohol tested.
Post-Accident Testing – CDL drivers involved in an accident resulting in a fatality or receiving a traffic citation resulting from an injury or a disabled vehicle must be drug tested within 32 hours and alcohol tested within eight hours.
Random Testing – CDL drivers are subject to unannounced random drug and/or alcohol testing. For random drug tests, drivers can be selected from a testing pool at any time, even if off duty at home. However, according to §382.305(m), “A driver shall only be tested for alcohol while the driver is performing safety-sensitive functions, just before the driver is to perform safety-sensitive functions, or just after the driver has ceased performing such functions.” When selected, drivers must report immediately to the testing location. Any delay could be considered a refusal to test.
Reasonable Suspicion Testing – If a driver exhibits signs of drug or alcohol use, a DOT-trained supervisor can direct a driver to be drug or alcohol tested.
Return-to-Duty Testing – A driver who completes the return-to-duty process following a positive test or refusal must be tested under direct observation and test negative before returning to work.
Follow-Up Testing – Follow-up drug and alcohol tests are required as prescribed by the substance abuse professional (SAP) who signs the return-to-duty report.
HOW ARE TESTS CONDUCTED?
The testing procedures can be found in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart E and Part 40 Subpart L.
WHAT ARE THE TESTS LOOKING FOR?
Per FMCSA, test results will report an alcohol concentration of .04 or more and the following controlled substances: amphetamines and methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates (opium and codeine derivatives), and phencyclidine (PCP).
CAN A DRIVER REFUSE TO TAKE A TEST?
Yes. However, per FMCSA, a refusal to test is treated like a positive test and will appear in the D&A Clearinghouse.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A POSITIVE TEST?
Per FMCSA, employers are required to immediately remove a driver from operating a CMV on public roadways if the driver tests positive, including independent contractors. To be able to return to duty, the driver must complete a substance abuse program.
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