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December 23, 2022

10 Drug And Alcohol Program Violations You Must Avoid To Stay Compliant In 2023

Your compliance depends on numerous factors. There is not one rule or regulation that you have to follow. The federal motor carrier safety administration requires you to conform to several rules and regulations. Having a suitable and relevant drug and alcohol program in place is also one of those requirements. If you fail to comply with this critical requirement, you do not just put everyone at your workplace at risk but also every individual who uses public roadways across the country or every state that you travel to. Also, you must remember that any violation related to the drug and alcohol testing/program/policy is going to result in hefty fines and penalties for your company. The following section talks about a few drug and alcohol program violations that you should always avoid. Let’s begin:

  1. When you fail to create or implement a suitable drug and alcohol testing program in your organization is where it all begins. The relevant code here is 382.115 (a). The fines and penalties in such a situation can effectively damage your reputation and it will be very difficult to recover from it.
  2. It is never advised to use the services of a commercial motor vehicle driver before you have received any pre-employment drug test results that are applicable in that situation. The relevant code here is 382.301(a). The federal motor carrier safety administration reminds transport companies to always wait for the pre-employment drug test results of their employees before they commence with their usual business operations.
  3. There is another critical requirement that necessitates that you should conduct a post-accident alcohol or drug test on your employees. If you do not do that, you will have violated code 382.303. Also, if you fail to conduct this test, you will be putting several of your employees working in safety-sensitive positions at a much larger risk.
  4. Have you ever failed to conduct a random drug and alcohol test at your workplace as you are required every year? This is one of the most common mistakes/violations that several transport companies and similar enterprises working in this sector make very frequently. The relevant code in this situation is 382.305 (b) (2). You should get in touch with your third-party administrator to help you conduct a random drug and alcohol test in your organization regularly and in a timely fashion.
  5. Letting your driver perform safety-sensitive job functions without first having a follow-up testing program activated in your place. The code that is relevant here is 382.5 03. It is never advised to allow any of your safety-sensitive position holders to function or operate any machinery or vehicle prior to having a testing program in your company. Doing this only puts all the other employees working in your company at a bigger risk.
  6. Are you one of those companies that still employ drivers who refuse to take a drug and alcohol test? Do not make this mistake. The code applicable here is 382.211. Any transport company or any other enterprise working in this sector has to be diligent enough to only use the drivers and safety-sensitive position holders who have actively taken part in a drug and alcohol test and whose results have come out more than satisfactory according to the rules and regulations laid down by the federal motor carrier safety administration.
  7. Have you ever used the services of a driver who has had an alcohol level of .04 in his bloodstream? If it is a matter of a single violation that happened in the past, and if the driver has gone through rigorous corrective measures after that drug and alcohol test, in addition to a follow-up test, the situation might be different for you. However, if none of that has happened, it is advised not to use such a driver for any of your business operations. The code applicable here is 382.201. Using the services of a driver with a .04 alcohol level in their bloodstream is going to reflect very negatively on your reputation.
  8. Not having or not implementing a random controlled substance or alcohol testing program in your organization is also a major violation. The code relevant to this situation is 382.305. This can result in a very big fine of more than $10,000 in certain situations and depending upon what kind of enterprise you run. The federal motor carrier safety administration and the department of transportation are going to monitor your activities even more closely if you are found violating this rule. Remember, the only way to stay compliant throughout the year is to come up with a random controlled substance or alcohol testing program and implement the same throughout your company.
  9. Never use a driver or any other potential safety-sensitive position holder who has tested positive for a drug. However, if the individual has gone through a corrective program and has been a part of a follow-up testing procedure after which he has been declared absolutely clean, you may use his services. But if none of that has happened, it is advised to avoid using that driver. The code that applies here is 382.215.
  10. Forgetting to conduct a query at the clearinghouse for your existing or future employees once every year is a critical violation and you should try to avoid this under all circumstances. The federal motor carrier safety administration states it clearly that as an employer, you must conduct a query whether it is pre-employment or otherwise of the clearinghouse at least once every year. The code relevant here is 382.701 (b) (1).

Do You Need The Services Of A Substance Abuse Professional?

The Department of Transportation assigns the task of evaluating employees who have violated any drug and alcohol program regulation to a substance abuse professional. He is also going to make recommendations as to the education, treatment, and follow-up testing of such employees. A substance abuse professional helps make your company a safer place for everyone.

The Importance Of Follow-Up Evaluation

The company requires any employee who violates drug and alcohol-related rules and regulations to undergo a follow-up testing procedure, seek relevant counseling, and find solutions to substance abuse problems before becoming eligible to return to their safety-sensitive position at work. Additionally, they must attend courses and treatments, and complete a follow-up evaluation by a substance abuse professional. This helps the employer to determine the suitability of the employee in question before they allow them to return to their duty.

Final Thoughts

Never take drug and alcohol program violations lightly. Your third-party administrator can help you stay compliant year after year. They possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience, and understand the rules and regulations laid down by government and federal bodies. Give them a call to know your status.

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