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6 Things You Must Know About DOT Random Drug Testing

09/08/2021 23:57

When it comes to brushing up on your knowledge about DOT random drug testing, there’s a lot of information out there. To help you out, we’ve put together our list of the top six things you need to know about DOT random drug testing rules to ensure that you and your drivers are always in compliance in the future.

1. When DOT Random Drug Testing Can Take Place

The key thing for any driver or company to know about DOT random drug testing is when this can take place. While pre-employment testing is something that most people are aware of, random testing is something that’s a little more of a mystery. As a business owner, you’ll need to be aware of the regulations regarding how often you must randomly test your drivers. If you do find that you have suspicions about any of your drivers working under the influence, it’s critical that they undertake a drug and alcohol test as soon as possible. This can be based on any observations of changed behaviors, such as speech or smell.

Random testing is meant to be carried out in a truly random way. Each employee will need to have an equal chance of being tested, and there should be no bias based on how these employees are performing at the time. You’ll need to have a good set of procedures in place to ensure that you are keeping track of who has been tested and then update their results accordingly. As well as random testing, you’ll also find testing can take place during return-to-duty processes, where they must be tested randomly six times within the first twelve months of returning to work.

2. Failing DOT Random Drug Testing

While we truly hope that you and your team never fail a DOT random drug test does happen in the industry. When you or an employee fails a test, you’ll immediately need to be removed from performing any safety-sensitive job, such as driving. However, there are sometimes other consequences of this, and this might depend on your company’s policies. It’s critical that business owners update their records when someone fails a test to ensure you remain in compliance. Our team can help you with any concerns about using the Clearinghouse and when you need to update these records.

3. Updating Clearinghouse Records

Following DOT random drug testing, all violations need to be reported. Employers need to update these records by the close of the third business day after the test results were received. The only information that needs to be added to the FMCSA Clearinghouse is the DOT-mandate alcohol or drug test. Hair testing or other pre-employment tests don’t need to be added and can’t be put into this database. These records remain in place for five years and until return-to-duty processes are completed. A fleet must also keep these records in place for this length of time.

4. Putting Safety As the Number One Priority

While there’s no denying that DOT random drug testing can be an inconvenience for companies, remember that safety should always be your number one priority. The CSA program was put into place to try and reduce the number of accidents taking place in the US. While there isn’t a minimum score in place for compliance, there are certain times where intervention will be needed to ensure your company isn’t causing a potential risk to drivers on the road. Ensuring you stay in compliance will protect your job for many years to come as well as the safety of everyone in the country using our roads.

5. The Standard 5-Panel Drug Testing Procedure

The standard way to carry out drug tests is with the 5-panel drug testing procedure. This checks for phencyclidine, marijuana, opioids, cocaine, and amphetamines. This is the minimum test that a company can use in order to remain in compliance with DOT random drug testing rules. However, some companies do choose to carry out more extensive tests to fit with their company policies. 

Breathalyzers are used for alcohol testing, where you’ll have to blow into a device to see your blood alcohol concentration. Our team will be more than happy to support you during this process and ensure you are using the correct testing methods to remain in compliance at all times. This will also offer drivers a fair and safe testing process, which is critical for any company to provide to their employees.

6. False Positive Tests

A common question we are asked by drivers and companies are whether a false positive test is possible during DOT random drug testing. If you are worried about the DOT random drug testing rules and that your sample might not be showing the correct results try not to panic straight away. Usually, the samples are divided into two in case this issue occurs. 

We recommend speaking to the physician who took the test first and asking for a retest within 72 hours following your positive result. When this is requested, they’ll use the backup sample to check if the test results were correct, which you can then use to determine whether you really have failed the test. As we shared earlier, failing a test does have severe consequences, which is why it’s so critical for companies to carry out these tests correctly every time.

The DOT random drug testing rules can certainly be overwhelming to understand for anyone who is new to the industry. By following the advice listed above and keeping up to date with changes in the industry, you can protect yourself or your employees and ensure you remain in compliance at all times. While drug testing is never a fun part of the job, it’s critical to ensure our roads remain safe at all times while working as a driver. 

If you're searching for DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing support, Labworks USA has everything you need. Contact us today for more information and to discuss any concerns you may have about DOT random drug testing.

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