How long a DOT return to Duty Process takes?
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) assessment and return-to-duty process duration can vary significantly based on individual circumstances, from weeks to months. The process involves an initial evaluation, treatment referral, follow-up evaluation, and return-to-duty testing. The DOT requires a minimum of six tests over 12 months. However, the timeframe largely depends on individual needs and progress.
The return-to-duty process after failing a DOT drug or alcohol test can take weeks to months. It involves an initial evaluation, treatment, a follow-up evaluation, and a return-to-duty test. The DOT requires at least six tests over 12 months. But it could be more and last up to five years. The exact duration depends on the individual’s unique needs and progress.
A truck driver has failed a DOT drug or alcohol test. The return to Duty process typically takes 60-90 days to complete.
If you or one of your truck drivers have failed a DOT drug or alcohol test. It’s essential to understand the implications and the steps that follow. The individual who fails the test will be immediately removed from any DOT-related safety-sensitive responsibilities. Which means they cannot drive commercial vehicles.
Failing a DOT drug or alcohol test won’t show up on a criminal background check. But it will show up on the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This can impact the individual’s career as a CDL driver, potentially placing it on hold for several months or even years.
The following steps involve a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation, followed by prescribed treatment or education. Afterward, a follow-up evaluation is required to determine if the person is ready to return to duty. A return-to-duty test is then conducted.
The DOT mandates that there must be at least six follow-up tests over 12 months, and this could extend up to five years. The duration of the process largely depends on the individual’s unique needs and progress in treatment. Staying compliant with all DOT regulations is critical to ensure safety and maintain the profession’s integrity.
How long after failing a DOT drug or alcohol test will it take me to be able to operate a truck?
If you failed a DOT drug or alcohol test, you would immediately be removed from DOT-related safety-sensitive responsibilities, including driving trucks. You’d then have to undertake a return-to-duty process, which involves a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation. Prescribed treatment or education, a follow-up evaluation, and a successful return-to-duty test.
The duration of this process can vary widely, often taking weeks to months. On average, it could take about 12 months after completing the return-to-duty process before you can drive a truck again. However, this timeframe is highly dependent on individual circumstances and treatment progress.
Once you return to duty, you will be subject to unannounced testing for drugs and alcohol at least six times during the first 12 months. The DOT can extend this period up to five years.
Please note that failing a DOT drug or alcohol test will stay on your record until you’ve completed your return-to-duty program and five years have passed since the failure.
2 to 3 days following a positive drug test result:
After a positive drug test result, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) plays a crucial role in reporting the findings to the Clearinghouse. Per the regulations laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), MROs must report the results within two business days of deciding or verifying a DOT-required drug test. You must report any changes to the results within one business day of making the changes.
How long does it take for the MRO to report to the Clearinghouse?
If you fail a DOT drug or alcohol test. The MRO will report the positive result to the Clearinghouse within two business days. The MRO is also responsible for reviewing your positive drug test result and reporting it, usually taking about 2-3 days after the test.
The Role of the SAP if you fail a DOT drug test or DOT alcohol test
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) then provides an initial evaluation and recommends treatment or education. After completing the prescribed course, the SAP conducts a follow-up evaluation to determine if you are ready to return to duty. A return-to-duty test is then carried out.
What is a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)?
A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a licensed or certified professional who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation. They play a critical role in the return-to-duty process for commercial drivers who have failed or refused a DOT drug or alcohol test.
It is necessary for a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to:
SAPs are knowledgeable about addiction, treatment, recovery, and the side effects of drugs and alcohol. They must have a background in diagnosing and treating medicine and alcohol-related disorders.
SAP Treatment Program
The SAP’s role includes:
- Initial Evaluation: The SAP conducts a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation to determine the extent of the individual’s substance misuse and recommends appropriate education or treatment.
- Treatment Recommendation: Based on their assessment, the SAP will refer the individual to a specific education course, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.
- Follow-Up Evaluation: Once the individual has completed the recommended education or treatment, they must return to the SAP for a follow-up evaluation. This face-to-face meeting helps the SAP determine if the individual has complied with their recommendations.
- Aftercare Recommendations: As part of the follow-up evaluation, the SAP may recommend aftercare or continuing care. This could include support group meetings, education, and additional counseling.
- Return-to-Duty Process: If the SAP determines that the individual has successfully complied with recommendations. They will send a report to the employer stating that the driver can return to duty. However, the driver must pass a return-to-duty test and be subject to unannounced follow-up testing for at least 12 months.
1 Week to 1 month after the Initial SAP evaluation:
After the initial SAP evaluation, the following steps typically occur:
- Treatment or Education: The individual begins the recommended course of treatment or education as specified by the SAP. This could involve counseling, in-patient care, group therapy, or educational programs about substance misuse. The duration of this phase varies widely depending on the individual’s needs and the specific recommendations of the SAP. It could last anywhere from a week to several months.
- Compliance Monitoring: Throughout the treatment or education process, the SAP monitors the individual’s progress and compliance with the program. Ensuring the individual fully engages in their recovery process is an important step.
- Follow-up Evaluation: Once the individual completes the recommended course of treatment or education, they must return to the SAP for a follow-up evaluation. This is typically a face-to-face meeting where the SAP assesses the individual’s progress and determines. If they have successfully complied with the recommendations.
- Aftercare Recommendations: Depending on the individual’s progress, the SAP may recommend aftercare or continuing care. This could include additional counseling, support group meetings, or other forms of ongoing support.
- Return-to-Duty Testing: If the SAP determines that the individual is ready to return, they must pass a return-to-duty drug or alcohol test. This test is administered under direct observation.
- Follow-up Testing: After returning to duty. The individual will be subject to unannounced follow-up testing for a period determined by the SAP. Ranging from 12 months to up to 60 months.
Remember, the goal is not just to help the individual return to work but also to ensure they maintain long-term recovery from substance misuse.
1-3 days after the completion of the program, the next steps in the return-to-duty process are typically as follows:
- Follow-up Evaluation with SAP: The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) will conduct a follow-up evaluation with the individual to assess their progress since completing the treatment or education program. This includes determining whether the individual understands their responsibility to stay substance-free and whether they have the tools necessary to do so.
- Return-to-Duty Testing: If the SAP determines that the individual is ready to return, they must pass a return-to-duty drug or alcohol test. This test is administered under direct observation to ensure accuracy. The individual must receive a negative test result before returning to work.
- Getting Back to Work: Once the individual passes the return-to-duty test, they can return to performing safety-sensitive duties. However, it’s important to note that even if the individual completes the return-to-duty process. The employer is not obligated to return them to work. The employer has the final say on this matter.
- Follow-up Testing: After returning to duty, the individual will be subject to unannounced follow-up testing for a period determined by the SAP. They are ranging from 12 months to up to 60 months. This ensures continued compliance with DOT regulations and supports the individual’s ongoing recovery.
- Continuing Care: Depending on the individual’s progress, the SAP may recommend aftercare or continuing care. This could include additional counseling, support group meetings, or other ongoing support to help maintain long-term recovery.