Reasonable suspicion testing is an important part of any drug and alcohol program. For DOT regulated employers, each person who supervises drivers must receive at least 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and 60 minutes of training on drug use. 382.603
What Must Training Include?
The following indicators of alcohol misuse or drug use:
When to Test
To test under DOT regulations a supervisor TRAINED in reasonable suspicion must WITNESS specific, current and identifiable things that lead them to believe the individual is in violation. This MUST be based on appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors.
An accident or client complaint is not sufficient for DOT reasonable suspicion testing, but may be enough for a non-DOT regulated test depending on your company policy.
Testing Best Practices
- Ensure all dispatchers and ideally all staff receive training
- Whenever possible have 2 witnesses, 1 must be TRAINED in reasonable suspicion.
- Each witness should document what leads them to believe the driver is in violation.
Here is a form to use.
- Notify the driver that they are required to submit to reasonable suspicion testing. Do so with the second witness present and attempt to minimize confrontation. It is important to notify the driver that if they refuse to test, it will be treated as a positive, and that you cannot allow them to drive their personal car without notifying local law enforcement.
- A manager or employee should transport the driver to the testing center and offer to take them home. Let them know a car will be available to pick them up once at least 12 hours have passed.
- Alcohol testing must take place within 2-hours or you must document the reason for the delay.
DO NOT USE THE DRIVER UNTIL RESULTS ARE RECEIVED!
Once Results are Received
For most employers, any positive result or refusal to test results in automatic termination. For CDL drivers, be sure to document the notification of positive test results. Here is a form we use.
Be sure to report the results in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse as well as providing a list of approved Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) in the area.
Negative results happen. Many medical conditions may mirror the symptoms of substance abuse. For negative results, have a company plan in place to address it immediately. Many companies choose to offer compensation for loss of work following a negative reasonable suspicion test.