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What Contractors Need to Know about Drug Testing


  • Who must be drug tested? – Any driver with a Class A or Class B license who operates a vehicle with a GVWR or GVCW of 26,001 lbs or more. This is a U.S. Dept or Transportation requirement.

  • Should non-CDL employees be drug tested? – Anyone who works in a safety-sensitive role really ought to be drug-free. Aren’t employers obligated to provide a safe place to work? You might also ask your workers comp insurance provider.

  • Does it matter if we are Intrastate only? – From From a DOT standpoint, no. Some confusion exists because intrastate-only vehicles do not always require a DOT registration. But if a driver operates a vehicle as described above, s/he must be in a random drug testing program.

  • What is a Consortium? – A consortium is a pool of drivers from different companies for the purpose of selecting random tests. Currently, the FMCSA requires 50% of all CD holders be randomly tested for drugs and 10% be tested for alcohol. A consortium facilitates random testing for smaller employers.

  • What happens in a DOT Audit? – It depends. If you are doing it all right, not much. If not, you end up writing checks. A new-ish client of ours with 13 drivers joined our program after negotiating its DOT penalty down to $13,000. Read about what a DOT auditor looks at here.

  • What about marijuana? – S Legalized marijuana is causing all kinds of problems for employers. For CDs and other federally regulated employees, it is 100% forbidden. For non-regulated employees, most states allow employers to have a drug-free workplace and test for marijuana. Having said that, if you want it excluded from testing, we can do that.

  • What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse? – The Clearinghouse is a federal database housing drug and alcohol violations for CDL drivers. In its 2 years of operation more than 100,000 violations have been recorded. Employers are required to query the Clearinghouse for new hires, and annually for all existing drivers. Penalties for non-compliance are set at $5833 per violation. Really.

Contractors Drug Testing

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