Kathy Close - DOT Editor - J. j. Keller & Associates, Inc.
March 29 , 2019
Questions abound when it comes to the requirements of a DOT Drug & Alcohol program. It’s only natural. Imagine the damage an impaired driver could cause behind the wheel of one of your commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Beyond potentially fatal consequences, such reckless behavior could lead to a lawsuit, DOT investigation, fines and penalties, and a publicity nightmare — all of which make it vital for your company to detect and deter drug abuse and alcohol misuse in commercial drivers through a compliant DOT drug and alcohol testing program. Here are five frequently asked questions that we receive about Alcohol & Drug Program requirements:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires testing for anyone performing a safety-sensitive function related to the operation of a vehicle used in commerce, whether interstate or intrastate, that meets one of the following criteria:
A safety-sensitive function encompasses the entirety of time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work, until the time he or she is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. With specific regard to CMVs, safety-sensitive functions include:
A driver who refuses to test, fails an alcohol test, or has a positive, adulterated, or substituted drug test result:
Yes. You are required to provide drivers in a safety-sensitive position with a copy of educational materials that explain DOT testing requirements prior to testing. You must also obtain a signed receipt from the driver to acknowledge that he or she received the materials. Many companies provide their drivers with classroom, video, or online training to ensure their drivers have been exposed to the required content as outlined in §382.601.
Based on section 382.401, FMCSA requires recordkeeping for DOT drug and alcohol testing as outlined for each of the following retention periods:
Managing a DOT testing program involves a variety of tasks, often performed collectively by multiple individuals at the company. All employees and/or managers involved with the implementation of your program must know their roles, the safety regulations, and company-specific policies to minimize the risk of an impaired driver operating one of your vehicles.
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