IMPACTS OF U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS ON COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVERS
& CONTRACTED SERVICES
BARBARA BUTLER & ASSOCIATES INC.
1. Who Gets Tested?
The DOT program applies to “safety-sensitive” employees in commercial transportation who maintain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and:
It may extend to mechanics,
dispatch, maintenance, and management personnel if they maintain a CDL
and have reasonable potential to operate into the U.S. It does not apply
to CDL holders that remain in Canada. If drivers who only operate in
Canada are tested, it is under their own company policy.
2. What Gets Tested?
Employers must use Evidential Breath Testing devices (EBTs) or a saliva screen test to initially check for blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .02 and if detected at this level, an EBT must be used to confirm within 30 minutes. Only devices approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration may be used. Companies may use their own (trained) employees, contract external services, or join a consortium for this. They must test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP using split-sample collection and urinalysis conducted at a certified lab. All parts of the testing process must be managed by fully qualified service providers (trained collection agents, analysis using approved alcohol testing devices or certified laboratories for drug testing, with medical review of drug test results by a qualified Medical Review Officer).
3. When do you Test?
Pre-employment: Drug test (alcohol optional) must be conducted before an employee first performs a DOT-regulated safety-sensitive function (including moving from another position within the company).
Post-accident: After a qualifying accident (any fatality, or driver receives citation and a vehicle is disabled and towed, or driver receives citation and someone needs medical attention away from the scene).
Reasonable Suspicion: Based on a trained supervisor’s observations of employee’s behaviour or appearance.
Random: Unannounced and with unpredictable selection just before, during or after performing a safety sensitive function for alcohol, any time when on duty for drugs. 50% rate for covered employees/year for drugs and 10% for alcohol.
Return to Duty: After a rule violation after the return to duty process is complete and being cleared by a Substance Abuse Professional (SA) to resume safety-sensitive functions.
Follow-up: After a rule violation under a program directed by a SAP (min. 6 times in first 12 months up to five years).
4. Consequences for Drivers?
Drug Violation (Positive
test - including positive pre-employment - refusal to test or unauthorized
use): Immediate removal from safety-sensitive position and referral
for SAP assessment.
5. Other Obligations?
Employers must identify their Designated Employer Representative (DER) for administration of the program, establish a written alcohol and drug policy, provide safety-sensitive supervisors with at least two hours of training, maintain detailed records of testing, training and education, check three year past testing history of applicants with former employers or those to who they applied to but were not hired by, ensure drivers have maintained qualifications (e.g. follow-up program if required), and provide information to employees about the company program, the regulations, and alcohol and drug issues.
All relevant material on
the application of these regulations is found at: http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/
Other Articles by Barbara Butler:
WHY SHOULD WE HAVE A POLICY?
DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING AN EFFECTIVE POLICY
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