Drug & Alcohol Testing: Understanding the Refusal to Test
AUGUST 24, 2017 – There are a number of reasons why you or a driver may be given a refusal to test.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as not showing up for a required test. Or, perhaps you showed up for the test, but were unable to provide an adequate sample.
Regardless of the circumstances, the DOT views a refusal to test as being equal to a positive test result. If you’re given a refusal to test, you can expect the following to occur:
- You will be immediately removed from all safety sensitive job functions. If you’re behind the
wheel of a truck, you will need to stop driving as soon as you can safely do so.
- You must be evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
- If the SAP recommends any counseling or substance abuse treatment, you must complete
that before returning to work.
- You must take a return-to-duty drug test and provide a negative result.
Substance Abuse Professionals
A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) works directly with employees who have tested positive or otherwise violated DOT drug and alcohol rules. If you or your driver is pulled from safety sensitive job functions because of a violation, the assigned SAP will provide an evaluation and provide the recommended next steps for the employee. This may include education, counseling, treatment, follow-up tests and aftercare.
It’s important to remember that SAPs act as a neutral party in the return-to-duty process and neither represent the employee or the employer. Instead, their job is to provide unbiased recommendations based on DOT regulations and their own professional standards.
Your Responsibility as a Safety Sensitive Employee
If you’re employed as a DOT-regulated, safety-sensitive employee, there are certain rules you must follow in order to remain compliant with the federal safety regulations:
- You must not report to work, or perform any safety-sensitive functions, while you’re either under the influence, or in possession, of alcohol or illicit drugs.
- You must not use alcohol within four hours of reporting to work. If you’re a flight crew member or flight attendant, you must not use alcohol for eight hours before reporting to work.
- You must not use any controlled substances (unless prescribed by an authorized medical practitioner) while on duty.
- You must not refuse to submit to drug or alcohol testing.
- You must not adulterate or substitute your specimen. This will be considered a refusal to test.
Complying with your federal drug and alcohol testing requirements is an important part of your career as a commercial motor carrier. Have questions or comments about refusal to test or positive results? Leave them in the comments below!
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