President Obama signed a bill on December 4, 2015, issuing new rules and regulations for the transportation industry. The bill, known as the FAST Act transportation bill, will soon allow for hair follicle testing to be a DOT-approved method of drug testing, but not until the Department of Health and Human Services can establish guidelines, according to Trucking Truth. This isn’t the only thing you need to know about DOT drug and alcohol testing, and we are your one-stop shop for everything you need to know to ensure you stay up-to-date and compliant.
What Do New Truck Drivers Need to Know about DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing?
New commercial drivers in the transportation industry need to understand that the DOT has established that anyone designated as a safety-sensitive employee is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing; all CDL holders who drive CMV’s who are covered under the FMCSA 49 CFR Part 382 regulation need to be tested for drugs and alcohol; all CDL drivers are required to participate in drug and alcohol testing at any time during his or her employment and pre-employment consideration; DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing is currently only done through urine analysis; and all CMV operators need to expect random drug testing.
What do Employers Need to Know About DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing?
Employers must ensure all CDL drivers who operate CMV’s, which transport 16+ passengers, are greater than 26,000 GVWR, and that carry hazardous materials, need to be DOT drug and alcohol tested. Part-time drivers are also included in this rule, but CMV drivers who operate only on private property never open to the public do not need to be tested.
What Substances Are Tested for?
In all DOT-compliant drug and alcohol tests, employees are tested for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines and methamphetamines. In regards to alcohol, drivers are prohibited to perform their duties with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher.
The use of illegal drugs automatically disqualifies an operator from performing their duties. These drugs include Schedule 1 drugs which are dangerous and addictive with no medicinal properties, as well as amphetamines, narcotics, and other easily abused drugs.
Certain prescription drugs may be allowed, but only when first examined and accepted by a medical professional. Certain medications may not affect a driver’s ability to perform their duties safely and are permitted for commercial drivers. However, any kind of anti-seizure medication is not permitted and disqualifies a person from being allowed to operate a CMV.
When reviewing an operator’s prescription drug use as being safe or potentially harmful, medical officers examine each medication and whether it is a prescription from a doctor, a non-prescription, or if it is a supplement, and they will request a letter from the prescribing doctor is applicable.
What is Included in DOT Testing?
The only type of drug testing currently allowed is urine testing. But the different methods and stages of testing include pre-employment, post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing. Each and every CDL driver and CMV operator is subject to these types of testing.
How Does Testing Work?
Once you are notified that you’ve been summoned for testing, you must immediately report to the collection site. But you usually won’t be required to drive anywhere yourself, and a tested supervisor will be responsible for getting you to the testing facility safely if you do have drugs or alcohol in your system. As of right now, you will only be required to provide a urine sample for testing. If issues arise, you may be required to retest under supervision. You are only allowed three hours to provide a urine sample, and you are supposed to leave the sample at the testing facility before the process can begin. Leaving the testing site before providing a sample may be considered a “refusal” so it is very important to follow all rules carefully. Once you are tested, your results will be sent to a medical review officer from the lab. They will contact you if your results are positive to ask about any possible circumstances. If you have no possible excuses for a positive result, they will then immediately contact your employer.
Have More Questions About DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing?
DOT testing changes and updates on a routine basis, and it is important to ensure you are remaining up-to-date on all rules and regulations. This ensures you don’t get in trouble with the DOT, and that you provide your employers with the most accurate and fair treatment possible. Contact us at New Era Drug Testing for any questions or concerns you may have. We will be happy to educate you on everything you need to know and get you on the right track with our DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing service.