FMCSA Increases Testing Rates

Scott Watson is a Qualified DOT/SAP.
Call Heartland Intervention at 317-752-8811 for all your DOT/SAP needs.

Testing Rate Increases in 2020

The FMCSA announced recently that they have increased the drug testing rates for employees in safety-sensitive duty. Truck drivers and others covered by the rule will likely be subject to an increased number of random drug screens in 2020. The alcohol rate remains at 10%.

According to a document published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27, the agency is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50% of the average number of driver positions. This change will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Who is Impacted?

For reference, FMCSA estimates there are 3.2 million commercial driver license holders participating in interstate commerce and 1 million CDL holders. Under the annual random testing rate of 25% of all driving positions, this meant at least 1.05 million random controlled substances tests were to be conducted. With a testing rate of 50%, approximately 2.1 million random tests will need to be conducted in 2020.

DOT Return to Duty Changes

Employees who don’t pass those screens will be subject to the DOT Return to Duty Process as outlined in CFR Part 40. Aside from the addition of the Clearinghouse in 2020- that process remains largely the same. Our friends at ITI have included this in their announcement this week.

DOT/SAP Services from Heartland Intervention

Heartland Intervention, LLC is the leading provider of Substance Abuse Professional services in the area. Scott J. Watson is a qualified DOT/SAP with many years of experience. He is registered in the FMCSA Clearinghouse and ready to assist you.

These changes can be confusing for drivers and companies alike. For more info, click HERE. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Scott- call 317-752-8811.

Drivers Face DOT Changes

Heartland Intervention, LLC

The FMCSA has signaled big changes in an effort to close a loophole in the DOT Return to Duty Process. In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking state licensing agencies will be required to “downgrade” the license of a driver for whom a verified positive drug test, a confirmed alcohol test of 0.04 or higher, a refusal to submit to a test, or an employer’s actual knowledge is reported to the Clearinghouse.  In short- fail a urine drug screen or breath alcohol test, you will lose your license as well.

The goal of this proposed change is to make sure that employees are not merely switching employers following a violation. CFR Part 40 requires those employees to complete the specified Return to Duty Process which includes seeing a qualified Substance Abuse Professional.  While no date has been announced for this change it will likely occur as the Clearinghouse goes into effect in January, 2020.  The Clearinghouse requires all violations to be entered into a web-based data system.

We at Heartland Intervention, LLC applaud this change but realize that it will likely result in dramatically higher costs for employees. We are a leading provider of DOT Substance Abuse Professional evaluations in Indiana.  If you have any questions about this change the current DOT Return to Duty guidelines, call Scott J. Watson, SAP directly at 317-752-8811.

Transportation Safety

sized two truckers dot sap

When a child steps onto a school bus there is an assumption that the bus driver is sober.  When a 140,000 pound airplane surges down a runway, the passengers and their loved ones have an expectation that the pilot is not himself “a mile high”.  There are pack & ship companies who work with airports to get the best result. When a commuter steps onto the train that will carry her to and from a downtown office she may not ever wonder if the one in charge may have taken somebody else’s pain or anxiety medication.  This is because travel in the United States is among the safest in the world.

Heartland Intervention founder Scott J. Watson will be speaking this week at the 9th Annual Federal Transit Administration Drug and Alcohol Program National Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.  As a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Scott will be outlining the roles and responsibilities of employers, employees and the SAP in the DOT Return to Duty process as outlined in CFR Part 40.

Heartland Intervention and Mr. Watson take very seriously the safety of the travelling public.  As a DOT/SAP, Scott works with both employees and employers to make sure that they are compliant with the DOT rules for each of the six operating administrations.  Anytime there is a question about CFR Part 40, modal rules, or the responsibilities of the employer, employee and SAP we are here to help.

Heartland Intervention is a leading provider of DOT/SAP services in the United States and Central Indiana.  Call Scott directly today at 877/752-8811.  We would be happy to schedule an appointment for an assessment or to discuss how we may  help you or your company remain compliant and the travelling public safe.

DOT/SAP: 5 Things That Might Surprise You

sized two truckers dot sap

When a DOT covered employee fails a drug screen and wants to return to the workforce, the law (CFR Part 40) states that a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) will be central to the process.  The sensitive nature of the DOT Return to Duty process makes the critical for the driver/employee, company and the travelling public.  Here are five things about the process that might surprise you.

1.  Area of Responsibility:  Most drivers see the SAP as an assessment or drug/alcohol expert.  Most companies rely on the SAP in the same capacity but also depend on the reports that inform the process and ultimately allow for a return to duty drug test.  But the DOT is clear that the primary role of a qualified Substance Abuse Professional involves no loyalty to either the employee or the employer.  Instead the DOT mandates that the SAP is primarily responsible to the travelling public.

2.  Show me your FACE:  In a age of Skype and similar technology, the DOT requires both the initial and follow up assessments to be done face to face.  This allows for more than just a simple exchange of information.  It allows the SAP to evaluate the employee based on a number of factors rather than just the information provided.  This allows for a more detailed, honest and likely more accurate assessment.

3.  I have a Prescription:  Just because an employee is prescribed medicine by a doctor does not mean that he/she will be allowed to work in a DOT covered position.  Often times the SAP will require a note from the prescriber stating that it is OK to work in a safety sensitive position while taking certain medications.  This is done to protect all parties involved.  Employees are advised to be honest with their doctor about the nature of their work and honest with employers and SAPs about the medications that they are prescribed before they face a random, pre-employment or post-accident test.

4.  Speed is not a factor:  Failing a DOT drug test is expensive!  Employees are removed from safety-sensitive work and are often eager to hurry through the return to duty process.  Often the interests of the public, company and driver are not well served by expediting the process.  Recommendations are clinical in nature and made with our regard for the time it takes to complete them.  While some employees are able to fulfill these recommendations quickly, others find that much more time is needed.

5.  No Harm…No Foul:  Often an employee or company will argue that there is no need for education or treatment as result of a failed test.  Often these will be characterized as “bad judgment”, “stupid” or an “honest mistake”.  The DOT does not allow for a SAP to take such a view.  The rule states that the SAP must make a recommendation for education and/or treatment.  The SAP has no choice in this matter.

If you are a company or employee with questions about the DOT  Return to Duty process, call Heartland Intervention, LLC today at 877/752-8811.  We are a leading provider of SAP services in Indiana.  Our founder Scott J. Watson is a DOT qualified SAP who is eager to answer questions about your responsibility under the DOT and modal rules.