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What to Look for in a DOT Drug Testing Partner
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

DOT drug testing violations can result in expensive fines. You can save your company from penalties of up to $16,864 by working with a third-party administrator (TPA).

Drug and alcohol testing violations were some of the most common shortcomings auditors found during DOT compliance reviews in 2022. 

According to the FMCSA Analysis and Information Online violations report, the top drug and alcohol violations and number of occurrences were as follows: 

  • Using a driver before receiving a pre-employment result - 9,307 violations 
  • Failing to conduct pre-employment Clearinghouse queries - 9,281 violations 
  • Failing to conduct a query of the DOT Clearinghouse at least once per year - 6,706 violations 
  • Failing to register as an employer with the Clearinghouse - 6,526 violations

Even though the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has been in place since early 2020, this data shows that federally regulated companies are still not taking the regulations seriously. Whether it be a result of inexperience, confusion, or a combination of the two, motor carriers need to comply with the regulations set by the FMCSA in order to avoid devastating repercussions, like out-of-service orders and pricey penalties. 

The other part of this compliance effort is having a compliant drug and alcohol testing program – something that most interstate carriers must have in place to comply with federal regulations. 

Get a DOT drug testing program now

Because of the level of expertise (and time) required to run a compliant program, most carriers opt to partner with a DOT drug testing provider to manage a compliant program on their behalf. Provided you select the right partner, working with a TPA will ensure that all your company's drug testing requirements are met – with very little work on your part! 

What to Look for in a DOT Drug Testing Partner

Maybe you’re just starting to manage DOT compliance for your company, or perhaps you’ve been in the role for a while and you’re simply looking for an easier solution to meet your DOT drug testing requirements – either way, here are five essential things to look for if you’re searching for a DOT drug testing partner: 

  1. Make sure they offer a DOT-specific program 
  2. Check that they provide a DOT Clearinghouse compliance program 
  3. See how many testing locations they work with and where they’re located 
  4. Go paper-free with a convenient online testing management platform 
  5. Verify they use electronic Custody and Control forms (eCCFs) 

#1. A DOT-Specific Program

Your drug and alcohol testing program must meet all DOT requirements, including the types of tests provided, the collection process, and the random testing rate. A DOT-compliant TPA should offer all the following tests: 

  • Pre-employment 
  • Post-accident 
  • Random 
  • Reasonable suspicion 
  • Return-to-duty 
  • Follow-up 

Failing to implement a random testing program and using a CDL driver before receiving a negative pre-employment test result were a few of the biggest violations last year. With the support of a fully compliant partner, you’re much less likely to commit violations and pay hefty fines. 

#2. DOT Clearinghouse Compliance

Clearinghouse compliance has been essential to any DOT drug testing program since the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse went into effect in 2020.

It has significantly changed drug and alcohol testing for the industry, with carriers, drivers, Medical Review Officers (MROs), and TPAs needing to register for either reporting non-negative drug test results or querying the database during the pre-hire process to check on a new driver’s drug test history. 

Are you part of the 1 in 3 carriers  who aren’t Clearinghouse compliant?

On the topic of the pre-hire process – are you aware of the new Clearinghouse updates that went into effect in January? They will impact your CDL driver hiring process. Get all the information you need to know in our upcoming webinar or by clicking here. 

Understanding the DOT Clearinghouse and what is required for full compliance is something you can’t shy away from. The DOT is consistently checking for Clearinghouse compliance and the necessary records carriers must keep during audits. If you’re caught neglecting your Clearinghouse requirements, you could be fined up to $5,833 per violation.

#3. Wide Availability of Testing Locations

Especially when you’re managing interstate drivers (those who cross state lines), it’s important to know that they’ll always be near a DOT collection site. That way, if they get pulled for a random drug test while out on the road, or require post-accident testing, they can meet those requirements without going too far out of the way. 

Get an All-in-One DOT Drug Testing Solution

When evaluating DOT drug testing providers, look for one that has a large network of collection sites for you to choose from. This will make it easier for you and your drivers to operate compliantly. 

BONUS: if the TPA offers a collection site locator like Foley does, you can quickly and easily find the most convenient site for any of your drivers, no matter where they’re heading. Click here to see how easy it is to use Foley’s locator.

#4. Online Program Management

Managing your drivers’ compliance from the convenience of an online portal eliminates time-consuming paperwork and enables you to easily view random notifications, add or delete drivers from your program, and review drug test results as they become available. 

All this data is stored securely and can be accessed by permitted individuals from any mobile device, ensuring that all your testing records are organized and readily available if you’re selected for a DOT compliance audit. 

#5 Electronic Chain of Custody Form (eCCF) Capabilities 

Electronic Chain of Custody Forms (eCCFs) simplify the process of sending employees for drug tests by eliminating paperwork. The forms are automatically sent to the drug testing facility and updated electronically as the process unfolds – simplifying the process and eliminating legibility and transcription errors. 

Switch to Digital Drug Testing Forms Now

Foley customers can get real-time updates on the status of an employee’s drug test as well, something that isn’t possible with paper forms. You’ll always know where your drivers’ tests stand when you work with Foley as your TPA. 

Curious about switching to eCCFs? We’ll cover the advantages of converting to digital drug testing forms in tomorrow's Foley webinar: Drug & Alcohol Testing in 2023: What’s New & What’s Next 

The Choice is Clear: Turn to Foley for DOT Drug Testing

Foley offers all the above solutions as a part of our drug and alcohol testing program. Our experts know the DOT Clearinghouse (and all the frequent regulation changes) inside and out. If you have a compliance question or you’re not sure if you’re meeting the numerous federal requirements, we’re ready to help. 

To learn more about our DOT drug and alcohol testing program, request a free software demo by filling out the form to see how much easier maintaining your compliance can be with our solution. 

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