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Drug and Alcohol FAQs

Learn more about the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Actual Knowledge

Question Actual Knowledge:  What is “actual knowledge” as used in Part 382, Subpart B?  (§382.205 and §382.213) >> Answer

Question Self-Admission:  A driver admits to a company official they have used a controlled substance as defined in the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA-5) for a 5 panel DOT drug test, however,  the self-admission does not meet the criteria under 49 CFR §382.121 ( a) (1-4) 382.121 (a) (1-4) or the employer does not have a qualified voluntary self-identification program under 49 CFR §382.121 (b). Does this trigger a DOT Evaluation and the return-to-duty process? >> Answer

Question Self-Admission of Alcohol Abuse Off-duty:  A driver self admits to a company official they are abusing alcohol off-duty only. Is this a violation of part 382, and does this trigger a DOT SAP evaluation? >> Answer

Administrative error

Question: The Custody and Control Form for a pre-employment DOT test mistakenly indicated that the test was conducted pursuant to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) authority.  The form should have indicated that the employee was a CDL-driver, being tested pursuant to FMCSA authority.  Does this procedural error require the employee to have another pre-employment drug/alcohol test? >> Answer


Question Occasional Drivers:  My company purchased a large truck that is over 26,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).  We do not currently employ any commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers.  The vehicle has only been driven a few times by a family friend, who is not an employee and has driven the vehicle as a favor absent any compensation.  Does our company need a DOT drug and alcohol testing program to test this occasional driver? >> Answer

Question: When are drivers subject to the DOT Drug and Alcohol testing requirements? >> Answer

Question: Are CDL drivers who are employed by state government agencies subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements? >> Answer

FMCSA Authority over Service Agents

Question Investigation of Third Parties and Other Service Agents:  Does the FMCSA have authority to investigate consortium third party administrators (C/TPA’s) and other service agents? >> Answer

Follow-up Testing

Question Employment Change Prior to Completion of Follow-up Testing:  Can a driver who tested positive and completed the return-to-duty process change employers before the follow-up testing is completed? >> Answer

Management Information Systems (MIS)

Question Annual MIS Requirements:  Do motor carriers need to report their drug and alcohol results to FMCSA every year? >> Answer

Medical Review Officer

Question Employer Requirements for Positives:  Medical Review Officers (MROs) are required to maintain a signed or stamped and dated copy of Copy 2 of the control custody form (CCF) for positive drug test determinations.  Are employers subject to the same requirement? >> Answer

Non-DOT Testing

Question Return-to-Duty Process from a Non-DOT Test:  What are the consequences when a CDL driver tests positive on a non-DOT drug test and has not completed a return-to-duty (RTD) process with a substance abuse professional (SAP)? >> Answer

Owner Operator

Question: Are Owner-Operators that operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on the public roads that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing? Please refer to § 382.107  to find definition of CMV. >> Answer

Pre-Employment Testing

Question Requirements for Pre-Employment Testing:  If a driver is terminated and returns to safety-sensitive functions with the same employer, is the driver subject to a drug and alcohol pre-employment test before >> Answer


Question Prohibited Conduct and Disqualifications:  If a driver engages in conduct prohibited by 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B, does this also disqualify the driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) over 10,000 pounds GVWR? >> Answer

Random Testing

Question Testing Pool Inclusions:  Can an employer include non-CDL drivers, who operate CMVs with 18,000 lbs. GVWR, in the DOT random testing pools? >> Answer

Question Random Testing Selection Period:  A motor carrier conducts or administers a DOT random test on a driver that was selected in the fourth quarter of the year, but the test was not verified by the medical review officer (MRO) until the next year. What year does this DOT random test count towards? >> Answer

Question Random Testing Selection Period:  A driver that was selected in the first quarter but was tested on April 4. Is the motor carrier in violation for not testing the driver in the selection period they were selected, since the first quarter selection runs from January 1 to March 31? Also, does this random test count towards the first quarter or second quarter? >> Answer

Question Requirements While Not Performing Safety-Sensitive Functions:  A CDL driver is selected for a random drug test and the employer directs the driver to be tested when he was (off duty) not 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.  Is the driver required to undergo the return-to-duty process before performing safety sensitive duties again as a result of the positive alcohol test?  >> Answer

Question Determination of DOT Agency Random Testing Pool:  An employee is subject to the random testing rules of more than one DOT agency (e.g., PHMSA & FMCSA)  How is it  determined which DOT random testing pool \, when a driver works for both PHMSA & FMCSA or is dual-agency employee? >> Answer

Question: If an employee performs safety-sensitive functions for two different employers, is the employee  subject to each of the employer’s DOT drug and alcohol testing programs? >> Answer

Question Part-Time Drivers:  Do part-time CDL drivers need to be in an employer’s DOT random testing pool? >> Answer

Question Management of Drug and Alcohol Testing:  Does an employer have to join a consortium/pool in order to have its drivers be random drug tested, or can this program be managed by the employer? >> Answer

Question Frequency of Selection:  How often should selections take place under an employer’s random testing program? >> Answer

Question Alternate Drivers and Random Testing:  Can an alternate driver be selected for a DOT random test if the driver originally selected is not able to be tested during the selection period? >> Answer

Question Multiple Locations and Random Testing:  Can an employer make random drug and alcohol testing selections by terminal if the company has multiple locations? >> Answer


Question Return-to–duty/Pre-employment Testing:  What type of DOT tests must an employer provide in order to hire a driver who has completed the referral and evaluation process with a SAP, but still needs a return-to-duty test before the driver may perform a safety-sensitive function? >> Answer

Question Requirements for Positives or Refusals:  A CDL driver tests positive, or refuses to take, a DOT drug test. What must the driver do to be able to resume operating any type of commercial motor vehicle? >> Answer

Service Agent

Question: Can a consortium third party administrator (C/TPA), service agent make a determination if an owner-operator refused a DOT drug and alcohol test? >> Answer

Shy Bladder

Question Shy Bladder:  A CDL driver could not provide enough urine for the random test within thee hours of his/her first unsuccessful attempt.  The collector stopped the test and reported to the designated employer representative (DER) that it was not completed. What happens in this situation? >> Answer


Question: My company received a communication entitled, “Urgent Compliance Notice” which states that our company is not in compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol training requirements and will be subject to civil penalties up to $10,000, if our supervisors do not have at least an hour of controlled substance abuse and 1 hour alcohol misuse training pursuant to 49 CFR §382.307 (e.g. reasonable suspicion training). Is this a legitimate notice and is my company required to get training from the company that sent this solicitation? >> Answer


Question Process and Payment for Split Specimen Test:  If a driver makes a timely request for a split-specimen test within 72 hours after being notified by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) of a positive DOT drug test, and the driver cannot cover the cost of the split-specimen test, will the split-specimen test proceed without payment? >> Answer

Substance Abuse Professional

Question Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP):  How do I find qualified substance abuse professionals (SAP) in my area? >> Answer

Question SAP Evaluation:  Can employers or drivers seek a second SAP evaluation if they disagree with the first SAP’s recommendations? >> Answer

Question Payment of for SAP Services: Who is required to pay for services provided by a DOT qualified substance abuse professional (SAP)? >> Answer

Supervisor Training

Question Supervisor Training:  Do I need to train my CDL driver supervisors to recognize physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of drug use or alcohol misuse? >> Answer