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Random alcohol testing: A commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver is selected for a random drug test and the employer notifies the driver to be tested. The driver has not just performed, is not performing, and will not be immediately performing a safety-sensitive function. The collection site instructs the driver to submit to a random drug test and a random alcohol test. The driver tests positive for the random alcohol test. Should the driver have been tested for alcohol? Is the driver required to undergo the return-to-duty process before performing safety-sensitive duties as a result of the positive alcohol test?

The answer to both questions is no. 49 CFR 382.305(m) states that “A driver shall only be tested for alcohol while the driver is performing safety-sensitive functions, just before the driver is to perform safety-sensitive functions, or just after the driver has ceased performing such functions.” As such, the test was improper. The driver does not have to complete the return-to-duty process. The employer carrier must cancel the improper alcohol test, documenting for the record the circumstances resulting in the cancellation.

Last Updated : April 18, 2014