As a DOT-regulated business, one primary component is staying compliant with drug and alcohol regulations. Complying with these regulations can be challenging for most businesses. And failure to comply can attract significant penalties that can be crippling to the health of such businesses.  

Most business owners think that these penalties are few and far between and that they can get away with bare minimum compliance. However recent reports have shown a sharp rise in on-site DOT audits. These audits are comprehensive and require the business to comply with various regulations and safety checks about drug/alcohol testing and the recently introduced FMCSA Clearinghouse.

We have compiled a list of common FMCSA drug and alcohol testing violations and their penalties.

  • Failing to implement a random drug and alcohol testing program, 382.115(a): This is the most basic requirement for an FMCSA-regulated company. You need to have a random drug and alcohol testing program. The FMCSA database reports 3,074 violations for this regulation since 2018 with a penalty of $12,010 given to a carrier in April 2022. There’s enough knowledge out there about this regulation yet some carriers fail to comply. If you’re one of them, get in touch with us to set up your random testing program.
  • Using a driver before receiving a pre-employment drug test result, 382.301(a): One of the first steps before you intend to hire or use a driver for your company is to conduct a pre-employment drug test. The driver performing safety-sensitive functions must receive a verified negative drug test result for controlled substances. The most substantial penalty documented in the FMCSA database for this violation was imposed in May 2022, amounting to $15,410.
  • Failing to conduct random alcohol tests at the applicable annual rate, 382.305(b)(1): Employers are most likely aware of conducting random drug tests but random alcohol tests are also a requirement that can often be overlooked. FMCSA reported 3,663 such violations over the past few years. In November 2021, a substantial fine of $22,620 was imposed on a carrier for this violation.
  • Complying with alcohol concentration regulation, 382.201: A driver whose alcohol concentration is 0.04 or greater shall not report for duty or remain on duty requiring the performance of safety-sensitive functions. A driver under the influence is a great risk for both the himself and people around him. In October 2021, a manufacturing company incurred a fine of $11,720 following a citation for this violation.

Let’s now take a look at some common FMCSA clearinghouse regulations and violations. It came into effect in Jan 2020 and penalties for non-compliance can be up to $5833 per violation. 

FMCSA DACH (Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse) is a centralized online database containing records of DOT FMCSA drug and alcohol program violations.

  • Failing to conduct a pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse, 382.701(a): It’s important to run a pre-employment query on every driver you intend to hire. This query will show comprehensive details of any drug and alcohol program violations within a driver’s record. In May 2022, a carrier was fined $4,180 for committing this violation.
  • Drivers failing to comply with clearinghouse regulations may be prohibited from operating a CMV and their license can be revoked.
  • Companies or employers failing to meet DACH regulations may have their operating authority suspended or revoked. They may also face penalties such as suspension of their DOT number or a cease and desist order.

What can InOut Labs do?

As rules and regulations are being revised every year, it becomes increasingly difficult for employers to keep track of the changes. At InOut Labs we help you navigate the complexities of DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations and ensure you’re compliant with all DOT agencies.