A Failed DOT Drug or Alcohol test for FMCSA: Now What?

DOT Drug Testing at TrueTest Labs

DOT Drug Testing is serious business, and both drivers and employers need to understand what’s at stake with these tests. Even a refusal to take a test will put a driver in the return-to-duty protocol to get back on the road. Therefore, it’s important for both parties to understand what is involved.

Starting in January of 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association will use its new Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to centralize real-time information on all drivers who have failed or refused DOT Drug Tests.

What else do you need to know? Read on.

What Drivers Need to Know

First, what constitutes a failed DOT drug or alcohol test? Testing positive on a DOT drug test or registering 0.02 or higher blood alcohol content is a failed test. In either case, you will have to go through the return-to-duty protocol with a qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) in order to get back in the driver’s seat. The same goes for refusing a test. Refusing a test is treated the same as a test failure. Walking out of a collection site and not completing the collection is considered a refusal to test.  And starting in 2020, you’ll be registered in a central database, so there’s no hopping from one carrier to another in search of work. Violations that occurred before that date, however, won’t get logged into the system.

What Employers Need to Know

It can be exasperating when one of your best drivers fails a DOT drug or alcohol test. Beginning January 2020 employers upon receiving news of the failed test a) must remove the employee from all safety related activities and b) must report the failed test to the clearinghouse database. The failed test is serious business, a violation of federal regulations.  To be able to return to duty the driver must be sent through the return-to-duty or SAP process. In addition to reporting all violations to the clearinghouse, the employer must perform an annual check of the database for all current drivers and for each new driver employed.

In order for the driver to return to work they must complete the SAP process and then perform a return-to-duty drug (observed) and alcohol test.  They will also be ordered to perform a minimum of six (6) follow up drug (observed) and alcohol tests over the next year. The therapist may choose to order more follow up testing and may choose a longer time frame.  

TrueTest Labs has everything you need to keep your drivers safe and their testing up-to-date. We have a random program that any driver can be enrolled in relieving the employer of managing the follow up testing protocol.  We can even bill the driver directly. Give us a call today at 847-258-3966, and we’ll get your program on the road.

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  1. […] Refusing a drug and alcohol test, which is the same as failing a test. […]