Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Drug and Alcohol Prohibitions for drivers under FMCSA rules?

    382.201 — Alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater
    382.205 — On-duty use of alcohol
    382.207 — Pre-duty use of alcohol (within four hours)
    382.209 — Use following an accident
    382.211 — Refusal to submit
    382.213 — Drug use at any time (without valid prescription)
    382.215 — Positive or adulterated controlled substances test result

Is it O.K. for me to drink alcohol during my off hours even if I am subject to Random alcohol testing?

Yes. Alcohol is a legal substance and employees who choose to consume alcohol during their personal time are free to do so. To comply with the regulations, safety-sensitive employees must not consume alcohol for 4 hours before reporting for duty, and cannot have an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater at any time they are available to work.

An individual, who has been consuming alcohol while on call, is called into work. Would the driver be guilty of a prohibited conduct event if his or her alcohol concentration is greater than 0.04?

No. The driver has not violated any Federal regulations by drinking while on call. (Drinking while on call may be a violation of company policy, but that is another issue.) Upon reporting for duty, the driver should tell his employer that he has consumed alcohol within the last four hours and therefore is not permitted to drive. If the driver shows up for work, doesn’t disclose that he or she has been drinking and then begins safety-sensitive functions, he or she would be in violation of the prohibitions for drinking within four hours of reporting for duty.

Is possession of drugs prohibited under 49 CFR Part 382 with 49 CFR Part 40 consequences?

No. Possession of drugs is prohibited under 49 CFR Part 391, not 49 CFR Part 382. Safety-sensitive employees regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) who violate this rule are subject to disqualification, but are not required to complete the 49 CFR Part 40 Return-to-Duty process.

What regulation requires a detailed drug and alcohol testing policy for truck drivers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation that requires a detailed drug and alcohol testing policy is 49 CFR Part 382.601.

What must be included in my drug and alcohol testing policy?

49 CFR Part 382.601 details what must be included in a drug and alcohol testing policy for safety-sensitive employees regulated by the FMCSA. The materials made available to employees shall include a detailed discussion of prohibited driver conduct, circumstances and procedures for testing, an explanation of what constitutes a refusal to submit, consequences for policy violation and more.

An effective drug and alcohol testing policy covers all the required material and is written in plain English so that employees can understand their rights and responsibilities

In my policy, can I state that I will terminate an employee after the first positive drug test result yet after the second positive alcohol test result?

Yes. The DOT regulations do not address employee terminations for prohibited drug- and alcohol-related conduct. The employer can establish a policy to terminate after the first prohibitive conduct event, second event or not at all. The regulations only require that employers continue to meet the regulatory requirements after a violation by removing the individual from safety-sensitive functions and making sure the employee completes the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation and recommended treatment, receives a negative Return-to-Duty test result and complies with the SAP’s Follow-Up testing program.

What are the six DOT testing situations?

  • Pre-Employment
  • Random
  • Post-Accident
  • Reasonable-Suspicion
  • Return-to-Duty
  • Follow-Up

What drugs are tested in the DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Program?

Five drugs and drug metabolites are tested for in the DOT program: Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates and Phencyclidine (PCP).

Where are DOT-regulated employees tested for substance abuse?

A collection site is the simple answer. As long as it meets the applicable Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements, a collection site may be in a medical facility, mobile facility, a dedicated collection facility or any other location. Per DOT regulations, the facility must employ qualified collectors and provide the donor with substantial privacy while urinating. Collection sites must also have all the necessary personnel, supervision, materials, equipment and facilities to provide for the temporary storage and shipping of the specimen to the laboratory.

How long does it take to get a test result?

Results are generally reported to the MRO and then the client within 24 to 72 hours after the lab received the specimen.

I was supposed to have a drug and alcohol testing program years ago, but I never implemented one. It’s now August 15. What do I need to do to start a program so that I can be in compliance?

You could join a consortium pool managed by a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator, such as Foley. This would allow you to meet your annual testing requirement before the end of the calendar year. However, you would still not be able to satisfy the part of the regulation that requires testing to be spread throughout the year.

Do I have to be in this program? I know other guys who own their own trucks and they say I’m crazy for being in a program. They’ve never had any trouble from the DOT.

According to DOT regulations, you must be in a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program including Random testing. Both you and the other companies are being closely monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA2010 safety measurement system and trouble in the drug and alcohol or any other DOT compliance category could trigger a review of your company at any time. Once FMCSA discovers that your acquaintance does not have a program, the fines will add up quickly.

All of our supervisors have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in case we need them to drive. Do they need to be in our DOT drug and alcohol testing program?

Yes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) state that employees who are available to drive if needed must be in a Drug and Alcohol Testing Program. The fact that they are available to perform safety-sensitive functions requires them to be in a program.

I have three employees who have CDLs, but they rarely drive vehicles over 26,000 pounds. Do they need to be in the Random testing program?

Yes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that anyone “available to drive” a vehicle over 26,000 pounds must be in a Random testing program.

My employees drive trucks with gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings of 28,000 pounds, and they also paint gas pipelines. What type of drug and alcohol testing program do they need to be in?

Your employees must be in a program that complies with both Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) rules. The FMCSA regulations apply because your employees drive trucks with a GVW rating greater than 26,000 pounds and the PHMSA regulations apply because they work on pipelines.

I have a part-time driver who is in a drug and alcohol testing program with his full-time employer. Does he have to be in my program also?

FMCSA has issued an interpretation stating that a driver must be covered in each employer’s program for which the driver drives unless the employers have an agreement to share drug and alcohol testing program information. Essentially, the other company must agree in writing to provide you with the driver’s Random testing events as well as any other pertinent drug and alcohol testing program information. We find that most employers are reluctant to enter this type of agreement and that it is often less time consuming and less costly to merely add the part-time driver to your program..

Do Mexican and Canadian employers need to have a Drug and Alcohol Testing Program if they have drivers who drive into the United States?

Yes. All safety-sensitive employees who drive in the United States — including drivers from Canada and Mexico — must meet the requirements of Part 40.

Are 49 CFR Part 382 alcohol and drug testing requirements applicable to firefighters in a state that gives them the option of obtaining a CDL or a noncommercial Class A or B license restricted to operating fire equipment only?

No. The applicability of Part 382 is coextensive with Part 383 — the general commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements. Only those persons required to obtain a CDL under Federal law and who actually perform safety-sensitive duties are required to be tested for drugs and alcohol.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has granted states the option of waiving CDL requirements for firefighters. A state that gives firefighters the option of obtaining either a CDL or a non-commercial license has exercised the option not to require CDLs. 49 CFR Part 382 is not applicable to firefighters who obtained their driver’s licenses from states that do not require a CDL for firefighters.

I had an employee who was out under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for six months. During this time he was removed from the Random pool. Now that he is ready to return to work, should he be tested?

Yes. The employee must take a Pre-Employment test, and you as the employer must have a negative test result on file before he can resume safety-sensitive duties. All employees regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must take a Pre-Employment test if they have been out of the employer’s Random testing pool for more than 30 days. Employers should not confuse this test with the Return-to-Duty test, which is administered before an employee can return to safety-sensitive duties following a violation of the DOT drug and alcohol regulations.

When may I, as the employer, release the driver’s test information kept under the drug and alcohol testing program if I do not have the driver’s written permission?.

You may release drug and alcohol testing program information when it is:

  1. Required by a DOT agency.
  2. as part of a lawsuit, grievance or other proceeding initiated by the driver

How does blind specimen testing work?

An employer or Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA) with a total of 2,000 or more DOT-regulated employees must send blind specimens to the laboratories that process its drug tests. The blind specimens, which are known positives, negatives, adulterated and substituted specimens, are sent to the laboratory with fictitious identifiers so that the laboratory can not distinguish them from employee specimens. They are submitted for quality control purposes.

What is the only authorized confirmation method for drugs?

GC/MS – Gas Chromtolography Mass Spectrometry.

Why didn’t I receive a statistical summary report from my Consortium/Third Party Administrator?

DOT regulation

[49 CFR Part 40.111] states that an employer with fewer than five test results in a six-month period will not receive a statistical report. This is to avoid the possibility that information about an employee’s test result will be inferred.

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 him 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 his 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 his urine specimen that will hide his 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 using 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).

I talked to my driver about his positive drug test result. He apologized and explained the situation. He said that he was at a party and did something foolish. He promised me that he’s fine and it won’t happen again. I really don’t think he needs treatment. Can’t I just send him 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.

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, they 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.

Please send me Custody and Control Forms (CCFs) coded for XYZ 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 XYZ city?

If the driver has been selected for a Random test, you may want to wait for him or her to return to your area so that he or she 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.

Is it O.K. for me to let my new employee perform safety-sensitive functions before I have written verification of the negative drug test result?

Yes. According to the DOT, a verbal communication of a negative test result is an acceptable notification. Be sure to maintain a record of the date and time you were notified of the negative result.

I ‘hired’ this driver and sent him for his Pre-Employment drug test. The collection site called and told me he never showed up. Do I need to report to someone that he ‘refused to submit’?

Actually, he did not violate the drug and alcohol prohibitions. Since this was a Pre-Employment test, it is not considered a refusal-to-submit since he never “began the collection process.” If he had gone to the site, started the collection process and then left, it would be considered a refusal to submit and he would now need to comply with the Return-to-Duty requirements before driving for any employer.

Note: For any other type of test, not showing up is considered a refusal since the employee has been told to proceed to the site for testing.

Why can’t I let an employee work for awhile before doing the Pre-Employment test? The testing costs a lot of money and sometimes new employees quit after just a month.

The DOT requires that an individual have a negative drug test result on file before beginning safety-sensitive functions. Pre-Employment testing also helps you – the employer — identify drug users before you hire them. Some employers have applicants pay for their own Pre-Employment tests (in states where it is not prohibited) and then reimburse the cost of the test after the employee has worked at the company for a period of time (e.g., six months).

An employee who has been off duty and not subject to Random testing for 30 days or more refuses to take a Pre-Employment test arguing that he or she is already an employee. Is a Pre-Employment test required?

Yes. A Pre-Employment drug test is actually a pre-safety-sensitive duty test.

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 I want to 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 would 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 him for a Post-Accident test?

If your driver is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you do not need to send him 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 a 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 has 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 him 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 are able to 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 be in compliance 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 himself or herself to the collection site is for Pre-Employment or 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 work day to send the employee for a Random alcohol tests.

One of my drivers was selected for a Random test at the end of June. I just received another selection for him 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 him?

Explain to him 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. He doesn’t want to take his Random test because he’s 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 he is not presently working and available to perform safety-sensitive functions, he 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 his driving.)

Should the result come back positive, our MRO would cal7.8125em;l him and discuss the result and your driver would state that he is on prescribed medication. An individual taking a medication prescribed to him, in the manner it is prescribed, shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

The guy you chose only works for me on weekends a couple of times a month. Do I really need to send him for testing?.

You do need to send him for his 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. He’s a family friend so I don’t want to send him for a Reasonable-Suspicion test. Can I arrange for him 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 him 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 him to sign its internal authorization form. Is that a refusal to submit?

Yes. Foley has a written response from Jerry Powers, FTA Drug Manager, and he states that this does qualify as a refusal to submit. 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 he or she 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 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, he or she 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 a MRO-approved physician.

Which CMV drivers are excluded from CDL requirements?

49 CFR Part 383.3 makes exceptions for individuals who operate CMVs for military purposes. A state, at its discretion, may exempt farm vehicle operators, firefighters and other emergency vehicles, as well as drivers removing snow and ice.

Are the FMCSRs applicable to drivers employed by and vehicles operated by municipalities?

49 CFR Part 390.3(f)(2) exempts transportation performed by a state or a political subdivision including any agency of state or locality from the FMCSRs. However, this exemption does not apply to the CDL requirements in Part 383 nor the drug and alcohol testing requirements in Part 382. Government employers and drivers are exempt from compliance with Parts 325, 385, 387, and 390 through 399.

Do tow-truck operators who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) require endorsements to tow ‘endorsable’ vehicles?

For CDL endorsement purposes, the nature of the tow-truck operations determines the need for endorsements. Here is how to determine whether or not an endorsement is needed:

If the driver’s towing operations are restricted to emergency “first moves” from the site of a breakdown or accident to the nearest appropriate repair facility, then no CDL endorsement of any kind is required.

If the driver’s towing operations include any “subsequent moves” from one repair or disposal facility to another, then endorsements requisite to the vehicles being towed are required.

Exception: Tow-truck operators need not obtain a passenger endorsement.

Does the age requirement in 49 CFR Part 391.11 apply to CMV drivers involved entirely in intrastate commerce?

No. Neither the CDL requirements in 49 CFR Part 383 nor the regulations outlined in 49 CFR Parts 390-399 require drivers engaged purely in intrastate commerce to be 21 years old. States may set lower age thresholds for intrastate drivers.

My driver had his personal vehicle license suspended, but his CDL Class A is still valid. Can he 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 him or her to operate a vehicle that is 26,001 pounds and over with a trailer in excess of 10,001 pounds.

My driver came in this morning and told me that he was stopped over the weekend and received a DUI. What do I do now?

First, was he in his personal vehicle or a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)? If he was in his personal vehicle, did the authorities physically take his license from him? If not, he can still drive for you. You want to speak with him and advise him that once he goes to court, he MUST tell you the outcome. They may suspend his license — it is ultimately up to the court to decide because it was in his personal vehicle. If he was in a CMV, then he has violated 49 CFR Part 391.15(c) (2) (i). Once the driver is “convicted” for this disqualifying offence, he will automatically be disqualified from driving for the period specified in the regulations.

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

Can my primary care physician complete my DOT-required physical exam?

Yes. As long as your 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

How long will my card be 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 he or she feels 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. He is now able to return to work, his medical certificate was issued prior to his illness and is still current. Do the regulations require him to undergo a new physical examination? Can I require him 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 his or her 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.

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 him or her 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 him or her 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.

I own the company. Why do I have to maintain all this paperwork?

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 record keeping 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 drug and alcohol information in his 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 his Safety Performance History (SPH) file?

You must retain the driver’s Safety Performance History (SPH) information for three years after the driver leaves your employ.

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 a driver leaves your employ.

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).

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 his or her 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 his 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 must I 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.

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 drivers license requirements, financial responsibility, accidents, hazardous materials, and other safety and transportation records.

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.

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

A Conditional saety 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.

This simply means that FMCSA has not assigned a safety rating to your company.

Under most circumstances, the safety rating will be issued to the motor carrier within 30 days following the completion of a compliance review.

As soon as practicable, but no less than 30 days after the review, the carrier will receive a 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 which the motor carrier must correct.

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.

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.

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.

Also, our Audit Assurance Program will help you get into compliance and maintain it on an ongoing basis. Our program will help improve your safety compliance, thus making your operation safer.

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.

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 rep 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.

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.

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.

Call 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869 for more information or to enroll in our Audit Assurance Program.

You will be notified of an upcoming audit by mail. The letter will instruct you to call FMCSA and set up a day and time for your audit. Once you’ve been notified, you have 90 days to schedule your audit.

If you fail to schedule your 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.

You will be notified of an upcoming audit by mail. The letter will instruct you to call FMCSA and set up a day and time for your audit. Once you’ve been notified, you have 90 days to schedule your audit.

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

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.

Your Safety Audit 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.

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.

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.

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.

Carriers are responsible for ensuring that their drivers maintain detailed Individual Vehicle Distance Records (IVDRs) for each IRP-registered vehicle in their fleet. The record must include the following:

    Date of trip (starting and ending)
    Trip origin and destination
    Driverʼs name or signature
    Total trip distance
    Distance by jurisdiction
    Routes traveled and odometer reading (beginning and ending)
    Registrantʼs name
    Fleet number
    Unit number or VIN
    Plate number

IRP registration is required for vehicles that are used for transporting passengers or property in two or more jurisdictions that…

    Have a registered gross vehicle weight or actual weight or combination weight in excess of 26,000 pounds; or
    Are power units with three or more axles regardless of weight.

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement between the 48 contiguous United States and several Canadian provinces. IRP is designed to fairly distribute licensing and registration fees among states and provinces based on the number of miles a qualified vehicle travels through a jurisdiction.

You can check your current UCR filing status on the SAFER site. Click here and enter your US DOT, MC/MX or FF Number to check if your registration is current.

Motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers must have a current BOC-3, Designation of Agent for Service of Process, on file with FMCSA to secure operating authority and maintain active operating status.

Once all the forms have been submitted, it typically takes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) between three and four weeks to set up a new authority.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires companies to apply for, and pay a separate filing fee, for each authority sought.

A FMCSA operating authority include:

  • Motor Common Carrier of Property except Household Goods
  • Motor Contract Carrier of Property except Household Goods
  • Motor Common Carrier of Household Goods
  • Motor Contract Carrier of Household Goods
  • Broker of Property except Household Goods
  • Broker of Household Goods
  • United States Based Enterprise Owned or Controlled By Persons of Mexico Providing Truck Services For The Transportation of International Cargo (Except Household Goods)
  • United States Based Enterprise Owned or Controlled By Persons of Mexico Providing Truck Services For The Transportation of International Household Goods
  • Freight Forwarder Authority
  • Motor Passenger Carrier Authority
  • Mexico-based Carriers for Motor Carrier Authority to Operate Beyond U.S. Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the U.S.-Mexico Border
  • Mexican Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private Carriers Under 49 U.S.C. 1302.

You’ll need a US DOT Number if your company operates commercial motor vehicles that transport passengers or hauls cargo in interstate commerce, or if you are a commercial interstate or intrastate carrier who hauls hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding.

Certain states require all Commercial Motor Vehicle registrants to get a U.S. DOT Number. These include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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

    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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Yes. You will need to keep copies of your current IFTA license in all IFTA-qualified vehicles. You are also required to display IFTA decals on both sides of the vehicle’s cab.

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.

Motor carriers who operate IFTA-qualified vehicles must meet annual licensing requirements. The IFTA license must be renewed each year.

There is no need to register with multiple states. Your IFTA Fuel Tax license authorizes your vehicles to travel in all member jurisdictions.

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.

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.

No. However, you should check to see if your state has a fuel tax license requirement.

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.

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.

Currently no-one else is required to have an ELD. However, FMCSA has announced a new rulemaking session to expand the new ELD regulations to include ALL:

    New interstate entrants
    Passenger carriers
    Hazardous materials carriers

Not normally. However, FMCSA makes the use of ELDs mandatory for motor carriers who have more than a 10% error rate on their hours-of-service documentation (such as log books).

Yes, the regulations allow you to use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes. Drivers operating under the 395.1(e) exceptions may not drive if more than 8 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.

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.

Commenters to the proposed rule stated that most drivers already take breaks, so they are unlikely to be affected. The only drivers who will be affected are those who drive after working for more than 8 hours without taking any off-duty time.

Yes. Allowing off-duty time to extend the work day 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.

Yes. Any off-duty or sleeper-berth period of 30 minutes or more will meet the requirement.

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.

No, the rule gives drivers flexibility in when and where to take the break. The rule only prohibits driving if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. For example, if a driver spends 2 hours loading at the beginning of the day, then has a 10-hour drive ahead, he or she must take the break no later than 8 hours after coming on duty. The driver can, however, take the break earlier. If he or she takes a half-hour or more break at some point between the 4th and 8th hours after coming on duty, the driver can complete the rest of the planned 10 hours of driving without another break.

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 1-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.

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.

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.

You can be on duty for 14 hours. However, after 8 hours on duty, you must take a 30 minute break before resuming work.

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.

You can drive for 11 hours. However, after 8 hours on duty, you must take a 30 minute break before resuming work. (See below)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines driving time as the time spent at the driving controls operating a commercial motor vehicle.

For additional questions not found here, please email and we will reply within the business day.

If you intend to deny or terminate employment based on information you uncovered during a background check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to notify the applicant or employee in writing. This notification letter must include all of the necessary contact details and should give them sufficient time to dispute the information before an adverse action is taken.

Although many background checks are completed within 24 to 48 hours, they can take significantly longer. From variances in how counties store, retrieve and provide information, to missing release forms for employment verifications, these issues are a normal part of the background screening process – not an indication of a problem with the check itself.

In most cases, the criminal background check goes back 10 years and includes a search of each jurisdiction the individual has lived, worked or gone to school. If the position is highly sensitive, you may also include a federal criminal record search.

Before you order a background check, you must notify the applicant or employee and receive their written permission. If you want authorization to run additional background checks periodically throughout the person’s employment, that information must be clearly stated. You must also certify that you won’t use information contained within their background check report to unfairly discriminate against the applicant or employee.

A standard background check includes a search of criminal records, a Social Security Number trace, a sex offender registry search, employment verification, education verification, and professional reference check. Consider adding Federal Criminal records, Sanctions and Watch lists, and verifiable data searches such as Income Tax Return verification for increased safety.