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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about managing DOT compliance in your business? We have the answers. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us and one of our compliance specialists will be happy to assist you.

DOT Safety Audit 

Who is subject to a DOT safety audit?
All New Entrant motor carriers are subject to DOT safety audits. Upon issuance of a Federal USDOT number, motor carriers are granted temporary operating authority and automatically enrolled in the DOT’s New Entrant Safety Program — which requires a safety audit.
What if I fail my safety audit?
New Entrants who fail a safety audit cannot obtain permanent operating authority without first correcting any areas of non-compliance found during the Safety audit.
When will my safety audit occur?
On October 1, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration changed the rules to make the New Entrant Safety audit occur earlier for motor carriers:
  • Most motor carriers will have to undergo the New Entrant Safety audit within 12 months of registering with the DOT.
  • Passenger carriers must undergo the New Entrant Safety audit within 120 days of registering with the DOT.
Where will my safety audit take place?

If your safety audit is onsite, it will either occur at your primary business location, or at a local facility, such as a hotel or conference center, along with other New Entrants from the area. 

If your safety audit is offsite, you will be required to upload specific documentation to the FMCSA portal, proving your compliance with federal regulations.

Who will conduct my safety audit?
To complete the volume of audits it must conduct each year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration deploys federal and state officials as well as representatives from private compliance companies.
What key areas will my safety audit focus on?
While other areas may be examined, your safety audit will focus on six key areas:
  • Driver Qualifications
  • Driver Duty Status/Hours-of-Service
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Accident Registers and Documentation
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use Testing
  • Hazardous Materials Requirements
How will FMCSA notify me of my upcoming safety audit?
You will be notified of an upcoming audit by mail or email. The communication will instruct you to call FMCSA and set up a day and time for your audit, or where to submit your documentation online. 
What if I don’t respond to the first safety audit notice?
If you fail to schedule your onsite safety audit within 90 days of notification, you will receive a second letter. You have 10 days from the date of this letter to schedule your audit. If you do not respond in time, your operating authority will be revoked.
How do I enroll in your Audit Assurance Program?
Call 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869 for more information or to enroll in our Audit Assurance Program.
Can you really guarantee that I will pass my audit?
Foley will do everything we can to help you achieve a successful audit outcome. However, please be advised that getting into and maintaining compliance with the DOT regulations requires you to complete ongoing activities in a timely manner.
What type of post-audit support do you provide for Audit Assurance Program clients?
Our post-audit support will help clients through any issues related to non-compliance. This includes, if necessary, a letter explaining audit results along with any required or recommended compliance action. We may also assist with the preparation of corrective action letters, extension and administrative review requests, and other post-audit correspondence. In the event of a shutdown, we will work closely with the motor carrier to get the company back up and running.
What type of in-audit support do you provide for Audit Assurance Program clients?
The Foley Audit Assurance Team is available five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST for clients needing in-audit support. If necessary, a consultant will speak directly to an auditor to provide information about products and services provided by Foley. The team can also prepare custom documentation to satisfy an auditor’s request.
What type of pre-audit support do you provide for Audit Assurance Program clients?
Once notified of an upcoming audit, we kick it into high gear to make sure our Audit Assurance clients are fully prepared for the auditor. We conduct a compliance analysis via telephone covering all of the areas investigated by auditors. Clients will also receive documentation and technical support for any of Foley’s products and/or services the company is enrolled in. Additionally, Foley will provide limited support for services offered by other providers.
I’m not expecting an audit. Why should I enroll in your program?

Just because you are not expecting an audit does not mean that that you won’t be hearing from the DOT. FMCSA, the DOT agency charged with ensuring motor carrier safety, conducts thousands of audits each year, and your turn may be right around the corner.

Our Audit Risk Monitor will help you get into compliance and maintain it on an ongoing basis. Our program will help improve your safety compliance, making your operation safer.

I’m a New Entrant. I don’t have to worry about a Compliance Review until after my 18-month Safety Monitoring Period, right?
Wrong. Once you are on the road you may be subject to a full Compliance Review even before you receive your New Entrant Safety audit. Compliance Reviews may be triggered by roadside inspection outcomes or by an accident involving one of your vehicles. There is no excuse for non-compliance and the consequences can be severe. FMCSA expects you to comply with all applicable safety regulations starting from your first day in business.
How can a carrier improve a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating?
A carrier that has taken action to correct deficiencies that resulted in a poor safety rating may request a rating change at any time. The request must be made in writing to the FMCSA Service Center for the geographic area where the carrier maintains its principal place of business.
How is a carrier notified of deficiencies following a compliance review?
As soon as practicable, but no less than 30 days after the review, the carrier will receive written notice of the outcome. A letter will be issued from FMCSA’s headquarters office and will include a list of FMCSR and HMR compliance deficiencies that the motor carrier must correct.
When is a motor carrier safety rating issued?
Under most circumstances, the safety rating will be issued to the motor carrier within 30 days following the completion of a compliance review.
Why is my company considered an Unrated carrier?
This simply means that FMCSA has not assigned a safety rating to your company.
What is the difference between a Satisfactory, Conditional, and Unsatisfactory rating?

A Satisfactory safety rating means that a motor carrier has functioning safety management controls that are appropriate for the size and type of operation of the motor carrier. 

A Conditional safety rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place, and this could result in violations.

An Unsatisfactory safety rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance, and this has resulted in violations.

When and why are compliance reviews conducted?
A compliance review may be conducted in response to a request to change a safety rating, to investigate potential violations of safety regulations by motor carriers, or to investigate complaints, or other evidence of safety violations. The compliance review may result in the initiation of an enforcement action.
What is a compliance review?
A compliance review is an on-site examination of motor carrier operations to determine whether a motor carrier is meeting the safety fitness standard. Compliance reviews cover the full spectrum of compliance areas, such as drivers’ hours of service, maintenance and inspection, driver qualification, commercial driver's license requirements, financial responsibility, accidents, hazardous materials, and other safety and transportation records. 

Fuel Tax

What is IFTA?
The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a cooperative effort of the lower 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces to simplify fuel tax reporting and payment. Under the agreement, motor carriers register and file with their base jurisdiction, which makes the appropriate financial adjustments and distributes tax monies to the proper jurisdictions.
Who must register for IFTA?
Motor carriers who operate an IFTA-qualified motor vehicle in commerce must participate in IFTA. A qualified motor vehicle is one used, designed or maintained to transport property or persons that is:
  • Three or more axles regardless of weight, or
  • Two axles with a gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds; or
  • Used in combination with a total gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds
I am only registered as Intrastate. Do I still have to register with IFTA and do the quarterly filings?
No. However, you should check to see if your state has a fuel tax license requirement.
How do I get registered with IFTA?
Foley can help you obtain the forms you need to apply for your IFTA license and vehicle decals. You will need to complete this form and submit it, along with any fees, to your IFTA jurisdiction office. The annual license, which is valid for the calendar year, expires on December 31.
Which states do I register with?
You only need to register with one state — your base jurisdiction. Under IFTA, a motor carrier’s base jurisdiction is the state or province:
  • Where its qualified motor vehicles are registered
  • Where it maintains operational control and operational records of its qualified vehicles, and
  • That qualified motor vehicles travel in
Do most people register to be able to travel in every state?
There is no need to register with multiple states. Your IFTA Fuel Tax license authorizes your vehicles to travel in all member jurisdictions.
Am I required to renew my IFTA license?
Motor carriers who operate IFTA-qualified vehicles must meet annual licensing requirements. The IFTA license must be renewed each year.
Where should I keep my IFTA license?
The original copy of the license must be stored in the office along with business records, and copies must be kept in all IFTA-qualified vehicles. Motor carriers must also display IFTA decals on both sides of a vehicle’s cab.
I’ve registered with IFTA. How often must I file tax reports?

In most jurisdictions, motor carriers are required to file fuel tax returns with their IFTA jurisdiction office each quarter. To avoid penalties, IFTA returns, along with any payment for taxes due, must be postmarked on or before the deadlines listed below:

  • Quarter 1: April 30
  • Quarter 2: July 31
  • Quarter 3: October 31
  • Quarter 4: January 31

You must file a return even when no miles were traveled, or no taxable fuel was used during the quarter.

I did not leave my home state this quarter, do I still have to file?
Yes. You must file a completed IFTA return each quarter. Under the International Fuel Tax Agreement, you are required to file a tax return if you do not travel in any IFTA member jurisdictions or purchase any taxable fuel during the quarter.
How do I collect the mileage and fuel purchase information I need to complete my quarterly return?

IFTA license holder, you are responsible for maintaining detailed distance and fuel purchase records for all qualified motor vehicles. Specifically, you must prepare:

  • Detailed Trip Reports
  • Monthly Fleet Summaries
You must retain your IFTA tax return, along with the supporting documentation listed above, for four years from the applicable due date.
What must be included in an IFTA Trip Report?

IFTA Trip Reports must include:

  • Date of trip (Start and End)
  • Trip origin and destination
  • Routes of travel
  • Beginning and ending odometer reading
  • Total trip distance
  • Distance by jurisdiction
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Vehicle Fleet Number
  • Registrant’s Name
How do I document fuel purchases?
You must collect and retain detailed fuel receipts and/or invoices. This proof of purchase must include date of the purchase, the seller’s name and address, number of gallons purchased, fuel type purchased, price per gallon, unit numbers of vehicle and purchaser’s name.
My vehicle is over 26,000 pounds. Do I have to register with IFTA?
No. You may opt to purchase temporary fuel trip permits, which allow a qualified vehicle without an IFTA license to travel through a state. These temporary permits vary by length and price and may be purchased from the state, select truck stops and permit services. As this approach is extremely costly, most operators of IFTA-qualified vehicles choose to get an IFTA license and file quarterly fuel tax returns.
What happens if I don’t have a current IFTA license or required Temporary Fuel Permit?
Expect delays—and possible penalties. We’ve heard frequent reports of drivers being placed out-of-service for IFTA violations. There are also steep fines, which vary by state, for failing to pay fuel tax. California law, for example, calls for a mandatory penalty of 25 percent of the tax due or $500, whichever is greater. You must pay the penalty, tax and interest to prevent the vehicle from being seized.
Can I get help with meeting my IFTA requirements?
Foley offers affordable programs to help motor carriers meet their IFTA quarterly reporting obligations. All you need to do is submit completed trip and fuel purchase data, and we’ll prepare your quarterly IFTA return. Daily Driver Trip Reports and/or Monthly Tally Sheets and five years of electronic record retention are included in the programs. Please call 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869 for more information.
What states require a highway use tax?

The following states require certain commercial motor vehicles traveling through their states to pay a highway use tax:

  • Connecticut has a Highway Use Tax (HUT) for vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds and above
  • New York has a Highway Use Tax (HUT) for vehicles over 18,000 pounds
  • Kentucky requires a Highway Use License (KYU) for vehicles with a gross weight of 60,000 pounds or more
  • New Mexico has a Weight Distance Tax for vehicles over 26,000 pounds
  • Oregon has a Highway Use Tax for vehicles over 26,000 pounds

FMCSA Hours of Service

What is driving time?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines driving time as the time spent at the driving controls operating a commercial motor vehicle.
How long can drivers be on duty?
You can drive for 11 hours. However, after 8 hours on duty, you must take a 30-minute break before resuming work. (See below)
What is on-duty time?
On-duty time encompasses all the time a driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. It includes driving time, inspection time, loading and unloading time, etc.
How long can drivers be on duty?
You can be on duty for 14 hours. However, after 8 hours on duty, you must take a 30-minute break before resuming work.
Are there any penalties for violating the hours-of-service rules?
Yes. Drivers and motor carriers who violate hours-of-service rules face serious penalties, up to and including out-of-service orders, fines, civil penalties and even criminal charges.
What is the 34-hour reset rule?
The rules allow you to ‘reset’ your hours of service by taking a 34-hour break; however, you can only do this once every 168 hours (7 days). Additionally, the 34-hour restart period must include two periods of off-duty time between 1 AM and 5 AM.
Why does the FMCSA require drivers to take breaks?
Recent research found that any break from driving reduces risk in the hour following the break, but off-duty breaks produced the largest reduction. This study also showed that when non-driving activities (both work- and rest-related) were introduced during the driver’s shift—creating a break from the driving task—these breaks significantly reduced the risk of being involved in a safety critical event during the one-hour window after the break. The benefits of breaks from driving ranged from a 30- to 50-percent reduction in risk with the greatest benefit occurring for off-duty (non-working) breaks.
Do drivers have to take a break exactly eight hours after I come on duty?
No, the rule gives drivers flexibility in when and where to take the break. The rule only prohibits driving if more than eight consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. For example, if a driver spends two hours loading at the beginning of the day, then has a 10-hour drive ahead, they must take the break no later than eight hours after coming on duty. The driver can, however, take the break earlier. If they take a half-hour or more break at some point between the fourth and eighth hours after coming on duty, the driver can complete the rest of the planned 10 hours of driving without another break.
Does the break have to be spent resting?
No. The driver must be off duty for at least a half hour. Meal breaks or any other off-duty time of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. Drivers carrying certain explosives, who are required to attend the vehicle at all times, are allowed to count attendance time, which is on duty, toward the break if they do no other work during that time.
Can the shorter sleeper-berth break (minimum of two hours) be used to meet the half-hour break requirement?
Yes. Any off-duty or sleeper-berth period of 30 minutes or more will meet the requirement.
Does the break count against the 14-hour driving window?
Yes. Allowing off-duty time to extend the workday would allow drivers to drive long past the time when fatigue becomes extreme. The 14-consecutive-hour rule was adopted to prevent that and to help drivers maintain a schedule that is consistent with circadian rhythms.
Can time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded count toward the break requirement?
Time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded is on duty unless the driver has been released from all responsibility for the truck. Except for drivers attending loads of certain explosives, on-duty time cannot be considered as a break.
Are drivers using the “100 air-mile radius” or “non-CDL 150 air-mile radius” provisions in § 395.1(e) required to take the minimum 30-minute break if applicable?
Yes. Drivers operating under the 395.1(e) exceptions may not drive if more than eight consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. Because they are not required to maintain records of duty status (“logbooks”), they are not required to record the break periods. Revised on February 13, 2012.
Are exceptions to hours-of-service rules made for adverse weather conditions?
A driver may exceed the 10- or 11-hour driving limit by no more than two hours due to adverse weather conditions. However, the adverse weather exception doesn’t allow a driver to exceed the 14- or 15-hour daily limit or the 60- or 70-hour weekly limit. In order to use an adverse weather exemption, the driver must be involved in a trip that could normally have been completed without an HOS violation and that the adverse driving conditions developed after the driver began the trip.
Are hours-of-Service rules waived during an emergency?
Yes. Certain regulations, including Hours-of-Service rules, may be temporarily waived for motor carriers and drivers participating in an emergency relief effort. Emergency declarations may be issued by the President, governors of state or FMCSA.
Who is affected by an emergency waiver?
Only drivers and motor carriers who are providing direct emergency relief to, from or within the areas covered by the emergency declarations are temporarily exempt from 49 CFR Part 390-399 requirements. Before providing assistance, individuals and companies should coordinate with state and Federal officials.
What other rules are affected during emergency waivers?

Per 49 CFR 390.23 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), certain safety regulations (49 CFR Parts 390-399) are temporarily lifted for those participating in relief efforts. In addition to the Part 395 Hours-of-Service rules, these regulations cover:

  • General Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Part 390)
  • Driver Qualifications (Part 391)
  • Driving Commercial Motor Vehicles (Part 392)
  • Parts and Accessories for Safe Operation (Part 393)
  • Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (Part 396)
  • Transportation of Hazardous Materials (Part 397)
  • Transportation of Transportation Workers (Part 398)
  • Employee Safety and Health Standards (Part 399)
The Federal exemptions during a declared emergency do not apply to CDL, drug and alcohol testing, registration, and tax requirements.
Can I use an electronic device to keep track of my hours-of-service?

Yes, the regulations allow you to use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD).
You do not need to use an ELD if any of the following applies to your business:

  • You employ drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions
  • You employ drivers who use paper RODS for no more than eight days out of every 30-day period
  • You employ drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered
  • You employ drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000

DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing

What do my employees need to take with them to the testing facility?
At a minimum, employees must bring a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to the collection facility. However, if the employee fails to bring an acceptable photo ID to the collection site, the employee’s Designated Employer Representative (DER) can positively identify them or her over the telephone. Though not required, employers may also want to provide the necessary Custody and Control Form (CCF) for their employee drug tests.
What’s to keep an individual from substituting someone else’s urine for theirs in the drug urine collection process?
Keep in mind that your drug testing program is primarily one of deterrence, although, it has a significant detection result. As a part of the collection process, there are several safeguards in place to help prevent a substitution from going undetected. The urine specimen must be within a specific temperature range (90° to 100° F). If the urine collected is outside that temperature range, a directly observed collection is conducted to ensure that the urine comes directly from the donor’s body.
Can an individual add something to their urine specimen that will hide their drug use and produce a negative test result?
Many people believe they can get a negative test result by adulterating their urine specimen. However, such efforts to produce a negative test result are generally revealed in validity testing conducted by laboratories. Sometimes individuals who use adulterants self-identify. We have had situations where an individual says that he couldn’t have a positive test result because he used a guaranteed adulterant.
I just received a canceled test result. Do I have to send my driver for another test?
If a second collection were required, it would have been indicated on the MRO verification statement. What was the reason for the canceled test? If it was a Random test, no recollection is required or allowed. However, in the case of a Pre-Employment, Return-to-Duty or Follow-Up test, the driver must submit to a recollection. For these three test types, the regulations require that an employee has a negative result before performing safety-sensitive duties.
Can I release an employee’s positive test information in an unemployment hearing?
49 CFR Part 40.323 allows you, as an employer, to release information pertaining to an employee’s drug or alcohol test without the employee’s consent in certain legal proceedings. These proceedings include a lawsuit, grievance or administrative proceeding (e.g., unemployment compensation hearing) brought by, or on behalf of, an employee and resulting from a positive DOT drug or alcohol test or a refusal to test (including, but not limited to, adulterated or substituted test results).
My driver talked to me about their positive drug test result. Can’t I just send them in for another test?
No. Your driver violated the DOT drug and alcohol prohibitions, and he must complete the Return-to-Duty process. DOT regulations do not differentiate between one-time and reoccurring substance abuse problems. If he wants to return to work as a driver, he must contact a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and complete the Return-to-Duty process — even if he will not continue in your employment. Whether or not the driver remains in your employ will be determined by your company’s drug and alcohol testing policy since terminations are not a regulatory issue. 
My driver came in this morning and told me that they were stopped over the weekend and received a DUI. What do I do now?
First, were they in their personal vehicle or a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)? If they were, did the authorities physically take their license? If not, they can still drive for you. You want to speak with them and advise them that once he goes to court, they MUST tell you the outcome. They may suspend their license — it is ultimately up to the court to decide because it was in their personal vehicle. If they were in a CMV, then they have violated 49 CFR Part 391.15(c) (2) (i). Once the driver is “convicted” for this disqualifying offense, they will automatically be disqualified from driving for the period specified in the regulations.
I’m an owner-operator with no other drivers. Do I need a drug and alcohol testing program?
Yes. Not only do the regulations require that you have a program, but they also specifically state that you must participate in a drug and alcohol testing consortium.
I am a small company. Why do I need a Consortium/Third Party Administrator when I can adequately manage my company’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Program?
There are no rules or regulations stating that you cannot run your own DOT drug and alcohol testing program. However, there are so many regulatory requirements — such as a policy, a certified MRO, reasonable-suspicion training for supervisors, post-accident training, etc. — that it is often difficult for a small company to manage its own program. An effective Consortium/Third Party Administrator will also keep you informed of regulation changes and provide required reports.
In our company, my husband is the only one who drives. Does he really have to read the policy and sign the acknowledgement form?
The regulations require that every driver receives a policy containing specific information. The regulations also require employers to maintain a receipt signed by the driver to verify that he has been told about the drug and alcohol program requirements. These rules apply to all employers, even owner-operators. [49 CFR Part 382.601].
Is there any difference in the drug and alcohol testing requirements for small companies and those for companies with large fleets?
The drug and alcohol testing regulations address and apply to motor carriers of all sizes equally, whether there is only one driver or many drivers. [49 CFR Part 382].
What is a Custody and Control Form?
A Custody and Control Form, often called a CCF, is a five-part carbon copy form used to document the information pertaining to a drug test.
How do I know what type of testing form I have?
To determine whether you have a Federal, Non-Federal or Forensic form, look at the identifier on the top of the form. For example, a Federal Form — the type of form used for all DOT testing – says “Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form.” A Non-Federal Form simply says “Custody and Control Form” with “Do Not Use this Form for DOT Collections” underneath. The name of the laboratory (Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, Advanced Toxicology Network (ATN), MedTox, etc.) is found in the upper right corner.
When Foley sends me Custody and Control Forms (CCFs) coded for my company, can you also print my information on it?
We can provide CCFs that are coded for a specific company. However, we do not print medical facility or collection site information on CCFs.
My driver is on the road, but doesn’t have a CCF. Can you please give me the name of a collection facility in a specific city?
If the driver has been selected for a Random test, you may want to wait for them to return to your area so that they can get a CCF. When a driver does not bring a CCF to the collection site, the chance of a glitch in the testing process is greatly increased. However, remember that your driver must complete the Random selection within the current testing period (quarter).
Someone told me it’s illegal to change anything on a CCF. Is that true?
No. In fact, 49 CFR Part 40.45 specifically permits altering a CCF. Please call us at 800-253-5506, and we will fax you step-by-step instructions for altering a Federal CCF.
Where can I get an Alcohol Testing Form (ATF) for employee alcohol tests?
Collection sites keep the required Alcohol Testing Forms (ATFs) on hand; therefore, employees do not need to bring an ATF to a collection site. Employees should, however, bring Custody and Control Forms (CCFs) to collection sites for drug tests.
When is post-accident testing required under FMCSA?
  • Any fatality (except for the driver).
  • Citation for moving violation and disabling damage to any involved vehicle.
  • Citation for moving violation and medical treatment away from the scene.
My driver was just in an accident. The incident didn’t meet the DOT requirements, but can I do a drug and alcohol test as a precaution?
We strongly advise against performing any DOT post-accident drug or alcohol testing unless DOT criteria are met. However, if your policy clearly states that you require post-accident drug and alcohol testing for any accident or incident, you can conduct the testing using a Non-Federal custody and control form and a Non-Federal alcohol testing form.
One of my drivers was in a minor accident. There weren’t any injuries or citations, but the truck was towed. Do I need to send them for a post-accident test?
If your driver is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you do not need to send them for a post-accident test. In situations where there is disabling damage to a motor vehicle or bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene, the driver is subject to post-accident testing only if he receives a citation. Post-accident testing must always be conducted in the event of a human fatality. Employers with a general drug and alcohol policy that requires post-incident testing may conduct a non-Federal test.
If an employer fails to conduct an FMCSA post-accident test within two hours, what must be done?
When required, post-accident tests must be conducted as soon as practicable. If a test is not administered within two hours, the employer must prepare and maintain a file stating the reasons why a test was not promptly conducted. The employer must also continue to attempt to administer a post-accident alcohol test for up to eight hours and the post-accident controlled substances test for up to 32 hours after an incident. You must document the failure to conduct a post-accident test on your MIS report.
If an FMCSA post-accident alcohol test is not completed within eight hours, what must be done?
After eight hours have passed, the employer should cease all attempts to complete the alcohol test. The employer must record the failure to test in the file that was created when the test was not completed at the two-hour mark. The failure must also be documented in the employer’s MIS report.
My driver just told me he was in an accident on Friday night. It’s now Monday morning. Do I need to send them for a post-accident test?
No. Even if the accident meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) definition of an accident requiring testing, it is too late. The FMCSRs state that drivers who have been in an accident requiring post-accident testing must be tested for controlled substance and alcohol use as soon as practicable following an incident. If an alcohol test is not administered within 8 hours following the accident, the employer shall cease all attempts to administer a test. Similarly, a substance abuse test must be administered within 32 hours of an accident.
May a blood alcohol test conducted by Federal, state, or local authorities be used by an employer for post-accident testing?
Yes. If you can obtain a blood alcohol test result from the authorities, you may use it to satisfy your post-accident testing requirements. Often, it is easier for employers to administer their own tests.
May an employer use a blood drug test for a post-accident drug test result?
FMCSA requires a urine test to detect the use of controlled substances.
I have 11 commercial drivers. How many random tests must be done in a calendar year?
If your drivers are in a separately managed pool of 11, you must do six random drug tests and two random alcohol tests to meet the minimum random testing requirements of 50% for drugs and 10% for alcohol. However, if your drivers are in a consortium pool for random selections, the group needs to meet the minimum testing requirements for drugs and alcohol. All you need to do to comply with your random requirement is to send your employees in for testing when you receive a random selection.
How do I know when to send my drivers for random testing?
If you are a Foley client, you will receive written notification from our Random Administrators identifying the individuals to be tested, the testing they are to complete and the testing date. Although you are not required to complete the test on the specific date, you should try to schedule the test as close to the assigned date as possible.
Once notified to go for a random test, may the driver drive a CMV to the collection site?
Yes. The only time an individual is not allowed to drive themself to the collection site is for reasonable-suspicion testing. 
We have a Saturday safety meeting coming up. Since the drivers come to work just for the meeting, they won’t be doing any driving. Can I do random drug and alcohol testing that day?
You may conduct drug testing in conjunction with your Saturday meeting since drug use is prohibited at all times. However, you may not conduct alcohol testing since random alcohol tests must be done just before, during or after a driver has performed safety-sensitive functions (e.g., drive). Wait until a regular workday to send the employee for a random alcohol test.
One of my drivers was selected for a random test at the end of June. I just received another selection for them for July 10th. Is that possible?
Yes. An employee can be randomly selected multiple times during a calendar year. Employees have an equal chance of being selected in each selection period, regardless of prior selections. In this case, the driver was selected in two different selection periods.
One of my employees has been selected three times, but the rest of my employees have never been chosen. The employee feels like he is being unfairly targeted. What should I tell them?
Explain to them that random selections are derived from a computer-generated, unbiased selection process. As such, every employee in the testing pool has an equal chance of being selected during each selection period. Some employees are selected multiple times during the calendar year, while others may not be selected at all.
One of my employees keeps getting random selections. Can I send another employee to be tested instead?
No. The employee who was randomly selected must be tested, per the DOT. You cannot get an alternate selection or send another employee simply because an individual has been selected multiple times.
Can I tell my driver on Friday afternoon that he has to go for a random before work on Monday?
No. You are not to provide any advanced notification of a random selection. The key to random testing is that the tests are unannounced.
My boss was selected for random testing. He says he doesn’t need to go because he owns the company and only drives occasionally. Can I get another random selection?
No. If your boss is available to drive, he must be in a random selection program and report for testing when selected. By regulation, another selection cannot be substituted for your boss’s selection.
One of my drivers just had surgery and is on pain medication. They do not want to take their random test because they’re afraid that he will have a positive test result. Can we pick someone else this time?

Is the individual driving now or is he out on worker’s comp or medical leave? If they are not presently working and available to perform safety-sensitive functions, they should not go for testing at this time. If the individual is driving, or available to drive, did the doctor who prescribed the medication know that he drives for a living? (The doctor may decide he shouldn’t drive while on the pain medication or may be able to prescribe something different that won’t affect their driving.)

Should the result come back positive, our MRO would call and discuss the result and your driver would state that they are on prescribed medication. An individual taking a medication prescribed to them, in the manner it is prescribed, shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

The person you chose only works for me on weekends a couple of times a month. Do I really need to send them for testing?
You do need to send them for their random testing. Let us check whether your collection site offers weekend hours. If not, we will try to find a collection site in your area that has hours that will fit with your employee’s work schedule.
I think my driver may be using drugs. They’re a family friend so I don’t want to send them for a reasonable-suspicion test. Can I arrange for them to be randomly tested?

If you have a reasonable suspicion that a DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employee is using drugs, you are required to send them for a reasonable-suspicion drug test. Your determination to test must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odors of the employee. The supervisor making the reasonable-suspicion determination must be trained in reasonable suspicion. The regulation specifies 60 minutes of alcohol and 60 minutes of controlled substances reasonable-suspicion training.

An individual cannot be “selected” for random testing at the request of an employer since this is not a scientifically valid method. Conducting a “random” test without documentation that shows how the individual was selected could put your company at risk for legal action.

What is the minimum number of follow-up tests required after a successful return-to-duty test?
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) may request any number of follow-up tests in a follow-up plan. However, there must be a minimum of six tests within the first 12 months of the employee’s return to safety-sensitive functions.
My driver, who is regulated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), didn’t provide a urine specimen because the collection site asked them to sign its internal authorization form. Is that a refusal to submit?

Yes. If the authorization merely informs the employee that USDOT drug testing is not subject to the same privacy generally experienced in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act HIPAA) of 1996, the authorization would not constitute a consent, release, waiver of liability, or indemnification under 49 CFR Part 40.355.

The failure of the employee to provide a urine sample or comply with the collection must be considered a refusal. Even if the authorization did violate 49 CFR Part 40.355, FTA would expect the employee to comply with the test. An item of non-compliance on the part of the collection site is handled by FTA or the transit agency/TPA, not the employee. An authorization, such as the one in question, should not be used in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) testing. The testing form itself is the only authorization required. 

I just received a verified positive non-Federal drug test result for my driver who is in the DOT testing program. What do I do now?
Under 49 CFR Part 391.41(b)(12), the driver is to be removed from driving duties and is medically unqualified for the duration of the prohibited drug use. Before they can resume driving, the driver must be examined by a doctor chosen by the employer, who may determine that the driver needs to see a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), complete a drug rehab program and/or have a negative drug test result. Once the doctor has determined that the driver is drug free, the driver may return to safety-sensitive duties. Since this is a non-Federal drug test, the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 382 and 40 do not come into play.
Who is responsible for paying a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) used in the return-to-duty process?
DOT regulations do not specify who is responsible for paying for SAP services. Who pays for such services may be determined by employers and employees and may be governed by existing management-labor agreements and could be covered by health care benefits. Many employers pass the costs associated with the return-to-duty process to the employee. However, an employer may choose to cover these costs.
May a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who conducted the evaluation also perform treatment?
As a general rule, the answer is “no.” There are, however, certain situations when it is acceptable for an SAP to evaluate and treat an individual going through the return-to-duty process.
Can my personal doctor operate as my Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
It depends, but probably not. The DOT regulations require MROs to be certified. Unless your doctor is a certified MRO, they may not act as a Medical Review Officer.
How long can a donor stay at the collection site to provide a urine specimen?
49 CFR Part 40 requires that a donor be allowed up to three hours after an initial failed attempt to produce a sufficient urine specimen. During this time, the donor may drink up to 40 ounces of fluid.
If an employee is not able to provide a sufficient volume of urine during the collection process, and the employee must undergo a medical examination to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for the “shy bladder,” can the employer make arrangements for the employee to see an employer-designated physician?
Yes. When an employee is not able to produce a sufficient volume of urine for a drug test, the employer is required to direct the employee to obtain a medical evaluation from a licensed physician who is acceptable to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) and has expertise in the medical issues raised by the employee’s failure to provide a sufficient specimen. The employer can facilitate the medical evaluation by scheduling an appointment for the employee with an MRO-approved physician.

DOT Driver Qualification Files

My driver had their personal vehicle license suspended, but their CDL Class A is still valid. Can they still drive for me?
Yes. However, the driver is prohibited from operating a vehicle between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds. During the suspension, the driver may not operate a “smaller” CMV (or box truck). The driver’s Class A CDL only allows them to operate a vehicle that is 26,001 pounds and over with a trailer in excess of 10,001 pounds.
Where can my driver have his physical completed?
Medical examinations must be performed by a certified medical examiner. You can look for a certified medical examiner by searching the national registry at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
Can a primary care physician complete a DOT-required physical exam?
Yes. As long as the primary care physician (PCP) is registered with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. This required the examiner to have taken and passed a training course and exam. You can look for a certified medical examiner by searching the national registry at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
How long is a DOT medical card valid?
The regulations state that a physical examination card cannot exceed two years from the date of the exam. The medical examiner may shorten the time between exams if they feel the driver needs to be monitored for a health issue. Generally, medical cards may be valid for any of the following time periods: three months, six months, one year, or two years.
My driver has been in and out of work due to illness that resulted in surgery. They are now able to return to work, their medical certificate was issued prior to their illness and is still current. Do the regulations require them to undergo a new physical examination? Can I require them to undergo a new exam?
The FMCSRs do not require an examination in this case unless the injury or illness has impaired the driver’s ability to perform their normal duties. However, the motor carrier may require a driver returning from ANY illness or injury to take a physical examination. In all situations, the motor carrier has the obligation to determine if an injury or illness renders a driver medically unqualified.
I own the company. Why do I have to maintain all of these driver qualification documents?
Owner-operators are responsible for employer as well as employee responsibilities since they are both the driver and the motor carrier. There are requirements that the “driver” needs to meet (e.g., have a current medical card, driver’s license, etc.), and other requirements that the employer must meet (e.g., document maintenance and random testing program participation, etc.).
If a motor carrier maintains complete Driver Qualification Files, but cannot produce them at the time of the review or within two business days, is it in violation of 391.51?
Yes. Driver Qualification Files must be produced on demand. Producing Driver Qualification Files after the completion of the review does not negate a recordkeeping violation.
My drivers don’t have CDLs. Why do they need driver files?
Driver Qualification Files relate to the class of vehicle, not the type of license. Per 49 CFR Part 391, Driver Qualification Files must be maintained for anyone who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). In 49 CFR Part 390.5, a CMV is defined as a vehicle involved in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, of 10,001 pounds or more, or that is designed to transport more than 8 people for hire or more than 15 people not for hire, or that transports hazardous materials in a quantity that requires placards.
Can I keep a driver’s DOT drug and alcohol information in their Driver Qualification File?
Drug and alcohol information should be kept in a separate confidential file with limited access.
My state auditor says I am missing certain documents in my Driver Qualification Files (DQF). I thought your paperwork was all I needed to be compliant. How can this be happening?
Foley’s forms and programs are based on Federal DOT requirements. As such, we have provided you with all of the DQF forms needed for compliance with Federal requirements. Your state may have additional requirements that go above and beyond the Federal requirements.
I terminated a driver. How many years must I keep their Safety Performance History (SPH) file?
You must retain the driver’s Safety Performance History (SPH) information for three years after the driver leaves your employment.
How long do I need to keep Driver Qualification Files?
Per 49 CFR Part 391.51, you must keep the Driver Qualification Files for three years after the driver leaves your employment.
I received a drug and alcohol inquiry for a prior employee. This request does not have my company name on it — it just says, ‘To Whom it May Concern.’ Should I provide the info?
No. An employer is prohibited from using a “blanket” request form. An employer requesting info of a prior employer MUST include the prior employer’s name on the request.
What is the fine or penalty for employers who refuse or fail to provide 49 CFR Part 382 testing information to a subsequent employer?
Title 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(A) provides for civil penalties not to exceed $500 for each instance of refusing or failing to provide the information required by 382.405. Criminal penalties may also be imposed under 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(6).
Who must complete the road test?

Anyone driving a double/triple trailer or tanker vehicle needs to complete a road test and receive a Certificate of Road Test upon successful completion. If the individual will operate a vehicle that is not a double/triple trailer or tanker, the driver’s state-issued CDL will allow them to operate the specific category of Commercial Motor Vehicles designated on his or her license. In such an instance, the employer may accept a copy of the driver’s license in lieu of conducting a road test.

If a prospective employee has a valid Certificate of Road Test issued to them within the preceding three years, the employer may accept the document in lieu of performing its own road test.

Though not required, a road test is never a bad idea. Foley’s guidance is to always have prospective employees complete a road test.

What do I have to do when I review my prospective employee’s driving record?
The motor carrier must consider as much information about the driver’s experience as is reasonably available. This would include all known violations, whether or not they are part of an official record maintained by a state, as well as any other information that would indicate the driver has shown a lack of due regard for the safety of the public. Violations of traffic and criminal laws, as well as the driver’s involvement in motor vehicle accidents, are such indications and must be considered. A violation of size and weight laws should also be considered.
Do we still have to complete a Prior Employer Verification form if the driver had their own business prior to this current position?
Yes, with one exception. The only drivers who are “grandfathered” (exempt from some of the regulations per 49 CFR 391.61) are those who since January 1, 1971, have been continuously employed by a single motor carrier. These drivers do not need an application for employment, prior employer verification or road test. You must verify prior employers of all drivers who have not continuously worked for a single employer from January 1, 1971.
My new employee says that their prior employer is out of business. How do I conduct the prior employer verification?
The DOT requires that you make a good faith effort to complete the verification process for all regulated prior employers. The best way to do this is to send the request for information by certified mail. If the company responds, great. If the mail is undeliverable, keep the returned letter as proof of an attempt to verify an individual’s employment history. Keep in mind that at least two different attempts to contact each previous employer must be made. Telephone, fax, email and letter are all acceptable methods for contacting previous employers.
When do I check the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for a new hire? How many years back do I need to check?
An MVR must be placed in an employee’s driver qualification file (DQF) within 30 days of the date the driver’s employment begins. The pre-employment inquiry must go back three years and must include every state in which the employee had a motor vehicle operator’s license or permit. 
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