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Are FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Survey Results Dependable?

If you are a carrier company or even a truck driver for that matter, we certainly hope you are clean as a whistle with regards to drugs and alcohol. That’s because both are forced to randomly comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) mandatory drug and alcohol testing programs requirements, per 49 CFR 382.403. This is an annual random inspection for carrier companies and their drivers.

Carriers chosen by the FMCSA are required to submit their drug and alcohol test results within 60 days. Failure to comply can result in some hefty penalties.

Overview of Rules and Regulations Regarding the DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

Are FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Survey Results Dependable? | Denver Truck Accident Attorney

Are FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Survey Results Dependable? | Denver Truck Accident Attorney

The following guidelines and rules were gathered from the FMCSA’s website:

  • DOT regulations require supervisors of commercial motor vehicle drivers who operate trucks and hold a commercial driver license (CDL) to take 60 minutes of training on symptoms of controlled substance abuse/use and another 60 minutes of training on symptoms of alcohol abuse (120 minutes total).
  • Those operating trailer vehicles requiring CDLs on public roadways and employ a single employee in their company are required to take DOT supervisor training.
  • Single, independent owner/operators are not required to take the DOT supervisor training. However, they are required to register with an affiliate for random DOT alcohol and drug testing.
  • Owners and employers must ensure that all supervisors have access to the DOT training materials.

What are Carrier Supervisors Trained to Look For?

Each truck transport supervisor that takes the DOT-required drug and alcohol training courses learns the following essentials:

  • General requirements on reasonable suspicion referrals
  • Alcohol abuse in the workplace
  • Prohibited drugs in the workplace
  • Making the call on suspected alcohol or drug abusers in the workplace

Each training session is broken down into two 60 minute sessions that involve watching training films about alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace, and then working through a workbook with true or false statements, as well as scenarios. This instruction is intended to help the supervisor build a determination as to whether an employee appears to be in violation of an alcohol or drug abuse related offense.

10 Common Mistakes Fleet Management Makes When Applying DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing

The following are some of the common mistakes fleet management and supervisors make when implementing the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program:

  • Failure to implement a drug and alcohol testing program
  • Failure to define who is required to be tested
  • Failure to maintain a random selection process
  • Failure to send selected drivers for testing
  • Using a driver before they pass pre-employment drug and alcohol testing
  • Failure to suspend or reprimand drivers who fail drug and alcohol testing
  • Failure to test drivers immediately following an accident
  • Performing a DOT drug or alcohol test during a medical exam
  • Giving drivers advance notice of drug or alcohol testing
  • Failure to comply with DOT testing protocols or trying to hide errors

Companies and drivers should make a good faith effort to comply with the DOT drug and alcohol testing program, because failure to do so could results in serious fines and penalties. If implemented correctly, the FMCSA’s guidelines should establish a very trustworthy drug and alcohol program to administer.

Contact a Denver Truck Accident Attorney at Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck accident? If so, speak with our accident attorney at Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group to champion your cause. We’ll begin by performing an independent investigation, if necessary, to see if law enforcement missed anything. We’ll continue to build the strongest case possible, and eventually see if we can get a settlement or determine if the case will need to go to trial.

We can set up a free, initial consultation for you to meet with our experienced and trustworthy Denver truck accident attorney to get some initial details and find out if we are the experts you can count on to pursue justice in your legal matter. Call us today at (720) 420-9800, or send us an email using the contact form on this page. We can meet at our Denver office, or if you are still in the hospital we can come to you.


1“MADD and Colorado State Patrol launch annual PowerTalk 21 efforts” published in The Villager, April 2016.

All consultations are free. Contacting our firm to discuss your potential case does not result in any expense to you.

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