DOT or the Department of Transportation requires all employees who are in charge of operating a commercial transportation vehicle (those which require a CDL to drive) to complete drug tests at random intervals, pre-employment, post accident and upon reasonable suspicion. Their goal is to remove high-risk drivers who are inebriated from the road and therefore avoid the serious accidents and potential fatalities that are common to those who are impaired and driving.
How a DOT Drug Testing Program Works
• Random employees are selected from those who drive under CDL. At least 50% per year of the total employee list are tested for substance abuse.
• The employees who have been selected for testing will be told when and where to go for testing and ideally this will be done during the regular hours of the staff chosen for testing.
• These drug testing times are unannounced to reduce the likelihood of tampering with testing results.
• Each selected employee will be required to submit a urine sample which will then be divided and sealed before being sent off to a Department of Health and Human Services certified lab for drug testing.
• If the selected employee doesn’t arrive at the testing site on time or within 1 hour of being informed of the request they will be considered delinquent and face disciplinary action.
• If an employee has tested positive for drug use they will be referred to a substance abuse professional. They will have to submit for another test and evaluation before they can return to work. Their test results must necessarily be negative for them to go back to their job.
• Any employee who has had a positive drug testing result and has been identified as requiring assistance to maintain a drug-free status by a substance abuse professional will need to submit follow up drug tests to verify their status. Under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 the employee will need to pass 6 consecutive but random drug tests in the first 12 months after they’ve returned to work. These tests will be paid for by the employee.
• If a second offense occurs in a 3 year period the employee will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for 60 days.
• If a third violation occurs the driver will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for 120 days.
• If an employee refuses to undergo testing the employee will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a minimum of 1 year until a positive test is submitted.
The Department of Transportation is dedicated to keeping individuals under the influence of illegal substances from endangering themselves and others by using regular drug testing to evaluate their employees.
By adding testing after a previous violation and an opportunity for substance abuse counseling they offer a one time offender a chance to prove they are clean and prevent the habitual abuser from going back out on the road. This sort of consistent evaluation also helps prevent abuse from occurring in the first place, reducing the risk of inebriated drivers on the road.