What Truck Drivers Need to Know in 2020 About DOT Drug Tests

If you drive a commercial motor vehicle, you are subject to regular DOT drug and alcohol testing. It doesn’t matter if you are part-time, full-time or an independent owner-operator. Some things have changed in 2020 and you should be aware of the changes.

Failing a drug or alcohol test requires that a driver be removed immediately from performing safety-sensitive functions.Any driver failing a drug or alcohol test will be required to complete a return-to-duty process with a DOTqualified substance abuse professional (SAP) before they are eligible to return to safety-sensitive work.A failed test, not showing up for a test or a refusal to test all count as a failed DOT drug test.

Does a failed DOT drug test go on your record?

Beginning in January of 2020employers are required to report drug and alcohol violations to the FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This is an online database that provides employers and other authorized users real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol programviolations.

This means that any employer or prospective employer in the nation will have access to records of a violation preventing drivers from moving around to avoid going through the return-to-duty process. The Clearinghouse will identify drivers who move and obtain CDLs in different States and link those CDLs, in order to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers.

The Clearinghouse requires employers to “query” all new employees and all existing employees at least 1 time yearly.

What drugs does DOT test for?

DOT drug tests are conducted only using urine specimens. The urine specimens are analyzed for the following drugs/metabolites:Marijuana metabolites, Cocaine metabolites, Amphetamines including methamphetamine, MDMA, Opioids – codeine, heroin (6-AM), morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, Phencyclidine (PCP).

  • Drugs:Urine
  • Alcohol:Breath & Saliva

The FRA requires blood specimens as part of their Post-Accident testing.

What should I do after I fail a DOT Drug and Alcohol test?

You will have the opportunity to speak directly with a Medical Review Officer (MRO) about the positive test. The MRO will give you an opportunity to provide information and/or medical documentation to explain/support why your specimen was positive, adulterated or substituted. Based on the information you provide, the MRO will “verify” your result by determining whether or not there is a legitimate medical reason for your test result. The MRO will report your result to your employer only after making this determination.

During the interview the MRO will ask if you would like to verify the laboratory’s result by having your split or “B” specimen (your primary specimen is the “A” sample) sent to another laboratory for analysis. You will have 72 hours from the time the MRO verifies your result to request an analysis of your “B” specimen.

Your employer must provide a list of available DOT qualified SAP’s to you as an employee; however, they are not required to pay for or provide the SAP evaluation or subsequent treatment. And, completing the process doesn’t guarantee you will be re-hired. Hiring decisions are at the discretion of each employer.

You will not be allowed to return to performing safety-sensitive duties until you have:

  • Been evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP);
  • Completed any treatment, counseling, or education directed by the SAP; and
  • Provided a negative drug or alcohol test

What happens after I complete the return-to-duty process?

Whether you find a job with a new employer or your old employer, keep in mind your testing and any subsequent treatment will become part of your Clearinghouse record. You will be asked to sign your consent for them to access your record. This includes information from your failed test, your SAP’s recommendations and whether or not you successfully completed the process.

When you do return to a DOT-related safety-sensitive position, you will be subject to unannounced testing for drugs and/or alcohol at LEAST 6 times during the next 12 months and you could be subject to this testing for up to 60 months (as prescribed by the SAP).