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How to Comply with Drug Testing Standards if You Own a Trucking Company

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If you own a trucking company, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires you to have drug and alcohol testing guidelines for your employees. It can be confusing to know how to stay compliant, but these tips will help you follow the drug and alcohol procedures of the DOT 49 CFR Part 40.

Make a Drug and Alcohol Policy

First, make sure your trucking company has a written policy on drug and alcohol use in the workplace. Give it to every employee and have them sign a statement confirming their understanding.

Your policy should include a drug and alcohol testing program requiring all employees in “safety-sensitive” positions to be tested. This means CDL truck drivers must be drug and alcohol tested no matter their status. If you’re the company owner and drive for your company, you’re also required to be tested.

Testing Guidelines

What: The DOT requires drivers be tested for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP) and alcohol concentrations of 0.02 and greater. To find a list of certified laboratories that process drug and alcohol testing, check out the Department of Health and Human Services’ monthly list of certified laboratories here.

When: Drivers should be tested before they’re hired, after they’ve been involved in an accident or if you suspect they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a driver has returned to duty after a prior positive drug test, refusal to test, or alcohol violation, he or she should be tested again.Testing should be completed at least quarterly and without advance warning. To remain random, try spreading out testing throughout the year and stagger the time of day. This avoids employees expecting testing at certain times.

Who: You should randomly select drivers for testing by using a scientifically valid method. Don’t select drivers for testing by pulling his or her name from a hat or rolling dice. Instead, use a method such as a computer-based random number generator. If you pick an employee who is on vacation or sick, document that absence and select an additional employee for testing. Test the absent employee once he or she is back in the office.

Document The Program

For compliance, keep records of your drug and alcohol testing program including employees that have been tested, dates and times of notification, and dates and times of testing, and reasons if employees weren’t tested. If you’re not sure whether or not to record something, document it anyway. For sample testing forms, click here.

You should always record:

  • Test Results
  • Testing Processes
  • Return-to-Duty Process
  • Employee Training
  • Supervisor Training: If your company has supervisors, they should go through DOT Supervisor Training.

Store all records in locked file cabinets with limited access. You can also keep electronic records, but the DOT requires some records to be physical paper records. If you have electronic records, make sure they’re password protected.

How long should you keep records?

    • 1 Year: Any negative drug test results or alcohol test results less than 0.02
    • 2 Years: Alcohol and drug collection process records
    • 3 Years: Your drivers’ previous employer records
    • 5 Years:
      • Employee evaluations and referrals to Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP)
      • Follow-up tests and follow-up schedules
      • Employee testing refusals
      • Positive alcohol and drug test results
      • Evidential Breath Testing Device (EBT) calibration records
    • Indefinitely: Education and Training records

The DOT has resources on drug and alcohol testing, including informational brochures, tips on how to put a testing policy in place, and best practices. Visit their website here for tools you can use.

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