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.

Was it a Violation?

As one of the leading providers of DOT/SAP evaluations in Central Indiana, Heartland Intervention, LLC regularly sees clients as part of the CFR Part 40 Return to Duty process.  It’s also not uncommon for a client to seek such an evaluation, when they don’t really need or qualify under the federal rule.

So when is a “DOT violation” not really a violation?  CFR Part 40 requires an evaluation when a covered employee fails one of the following types of urine drug screen or breath alcohol test:  Pre-employment, Random, Follow-up, Return to Duty, Post-Accident and Reasonable Suspicion.  These are the ONLY types of test covered under the rule.

When an employee fails a test administered under company policy, union agreement or as part of a physical- even a DOT physical- it can be problematic, even dangerous.  But it is NOT a DOT violation and does not allow for a DOT assessment. As with many cases, there are a couple of loopholes and exclusions.  That is precisely why employers and employees trust Scott J. Watson and Heartland Intervention.

If you have question about CFR Part 40, contact us directly.  As a qualified DOT/SAP, Scott J. Watson has both clinical expertise and years of experience needed to navigate this challenging process.  He can answer your questions directly at 317-752-8811.

The Return to Duty process can be complex and challenging.  Trust an expert to guide you through the process or keep your company compliant with federal rule.

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.