Who is tested?
Generally, all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles subject to the CDL requirements on public roads in the U. S. are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing (§382.103). This includes all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup and international drivers.
Which substances are tested?
DOT drug tests require laboratory testing (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F) for the following five classes of drugs:
Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives, Amphetamines and Methamphetamines, Phencyclidine – PCP
What tests are required and when does testing occur?
Pre-employment – An employer must receive a negative drug test result before permitting a CDL driver to operate a CMV. (§382.301).
Post-accident – Drug and alcohol tests may be required after crashes according to the following chart (see §382.303).
Random- CDL drivers must be randomly tested throughout the year (§382.305); an employer who employs only himself/herself as a driver, who is not leased to a motor carrier, shall implement a random testing program of two or more covered employees in the random testing selection pool as a member of consortium (see §382.305 interpretation 11).
Reasonable suspicion – drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be immediately tested (§382.307). Employers must train CDL driver supervisors to detect the symptoms of driver impairment (§ 382.603).
Return-to-duty – Required for drivers who tested positive refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B; and who have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. This test is directly observed, and a negative result is required before resuming driving duties (§382.309 and §40.305).
Follow-up – Required for drivers who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B; and who have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional, and have tested negative for a return-to-duty test. This testing is prescribed by the substance abuse professional for a minimum of 6 directly observed tests in 12 months, but can be extended an additional four years (§382.311 and §40.307).
Testing Procedures: The DOT drug and alcohol testing procedures are extensive and can be found in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart E and Part 40 Subpart L, respectively. It is important for drivers to understand the testing process in order to ensure proper procedures are followed to protect their own interests. An employee handbook titled What Employees Need to Know about DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing is available on the US DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) website.
What if I fail or refuse a test?
You fail a drug or alcohol test by testing positive to a drug test, or registering a 0.04 or greater alcohol content. Either of these results requires you to be immediately removed from performing safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving CMVs) until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.
Your refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test is generally equivalent to testing positive to a drug or alcohol test. You must immediately be removed from performing safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving CMVs) until successful completion of return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. The DOT regulations outline refusals to test for drugs and alcohol. Some refusals are determined by medical review officers (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart N). For others, the determiniation is the employer’s responsibility, Refusals to submit to a drug or alcohol test are defined in §382.107. The employee handbook available on the ODAPC website provides examples of conduct that the regulations define as refusing a test (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart I and Subpart N) and what happens if you test positive, refuse a test, or violate FMCSA regulations. It is, therefore, critical to understand the specific circumstances that define a refusal, which can be found in §40.191, §40.261 and §382.107.