Failed DOT Drug Test Consequences: What’s Next?
For CDL drivers, one of the most daunting scenarios is the moment you realize you failed a DOT drug test.
So, what happens if you fail a DOT drug test?
A failed drug test results in immediate removal from safety-sensitive functions, an event that can significantly impact your career.
So, what happens if you refuse a DOT drug test?
A refusal is treated as a failed test, and the FMCSA regards this violation as seriously as a positive test result.
The FMCSA requires all employers to immediately prohibit drivers from performing any safety-sensitive functions following a positive test or refusal.
The Role of a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)
When a driver fails or refuses a drug test, the first step toward regaining their commercial driving privileges is the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Program.
But what exactly is a SAP program?
A SAP program is a critical component of the return-to-duty process designed to help drivers who have violated the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations. The program’s main objective is to ensure the driver receives the necessary help to prevent substance misuse while ensuring public safety.
SAP Evaluation: What to Expect
During the SAP evaluation, a SAP will explore the circumstances of your violation, assess your substance use, and develop an appropriate treatment or education plan. This process is critical in determining the correct path forward.
Remember that the SAP evaluation is not a punitive measure, but rather an opportunity to identify and address potential substance misuse issues. The goal is to ensure that you can return to work safely, protecting not just your well-being, but also the safety of the general public.
Once you have successfully completed the recommended education or treatment program, a follow-up SAP evaluation is necessary. The purpose of this evaluation is to ensure that you have complied with the recommendations and are ready to safely return to safety-sensitive duties.
How Much Does the DOT SAP Program Cost?
The cost of a SAP program varies depending on the type and length of treatment or education required. It’s important to view this expense as an investment in your career and well-being.
Please note that while the FMCSA requires employers to provide a list of SAP providers, it does not require them to pay for the SAP program or subsequent treatment.
Can I Return to Work After Failed Drug Test?
Successfully completing the initial SAP evaluation and the recommended treatment or education program is just the beginning of the return-to-duty process.
The next step involves a second SAP evaluation, a critical checkpoint where the SAP will assess your progress and readiness to return to safety-sensitive duties.
This leads us to a common question: “Can I return to work after failed drug test DOT?”
Yes, but only after you’ve completed the necessary steps in the SAP return-to-duty process and a return-to-duty drug test with a negative result. It is essential to remember that this process is not about punishing you, but rather ensuring that you are safe to return to the road, posing no risk to yourself or others.
What Happens If You Fail a DOT Drug Test Three Times?
While there is no statutory limit on the number of times you can go through the return-to-duty process, repeated failures have severe implications.
Each violation results in immediate removal from safety-sensitive functions and restarts the SAP return-to-duty process.
It’s also important to note that multiple failures can result in significant career consequences, including potential loss of your CDL and employability concerns.
How Long Is the DOT SAP Program?
The length of the DOT SAP program depends on the severity of your violation and your progress in treatment or education. The process is individualized, which means there isn’t a standard time frame that applies to everyone.
It might take weeks or months, but it’s crucial to prioritize the journey’s quality over its speed.
How long does a failed drug test stay on the Clearinghouse?
Violations will remain on the Clearinghouse record for five years or until the return-to-duty process is complete, whichever is later.
The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a secure online database that records all violations of the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program.
If you are facing a violation, it’s crucial to understand and navigate the Clearinghouse requirements. This knowledge will help you handle the situation responsibly and proactively, ensuring the best possible outcome for your career.
What Happens After Completing the SAP Program?
Once you’ve completed the SAP program and have passed the return-to-duty test, you may be reinstated to your safety-sensitive function.
However, the journey doesn’t stop there. An important part of the process, often overlooked, is the follow-up testing phase.
After a successful return-to-duty test, you’ll be subjected to a series of unannounced drug and/or alcohol tests for a period determined by the SAP (not less than six tests in the first 12 months).
The SAP can extend the testing period to up to 60 months, depending on the individual’s needs.
How Much Does the DOT SAP Program Cost?
The cost of the SAP program can vary depending on several factors such as the location of the service provider, the severity of your violation, and the extent of treatment or education required.
Most SAPs offer an initial assessment fee, which typically includes the cost of the assessment, reports, treatment recommendations, and follow-up evaluations.
Remember, investing in the SAP program is not only a regulatory requirement, but also an investment in your safety and career longevity.
An Overview of SAP Programs
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) program is a U.S. Department of Transportation initiative designed to evaluate and manage employees who have violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations.
The SAP’s role is not to provide counseling, treatment, or therapy. Instead, the SAP evaluates the employee’s needs and recommends appropriate education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.
The DOT SAP Evaluation
So, what happens during a SAP evaluation?
The initial evaluation involves an extensive face-to-face assessment to understand the extent of your substance use and its impact on your life and career. Based on this assessment, a tailored education or treatment plan will be recommended.
Once the prescribed course is completed, a follow-up evaluation will be conducted to ensure the program’s effectiveness and your readiness to return to safety-sensitive duties.
Steps in the SAP DOT Process
Understanding the steps in the SAP DOT process can be essential to successfully navigating the program. The primary steps include:
- An initial face-to-face SAP evaluation.
- Completion of the recommended education or treatment program.
- A follow-up SAP evaluation.
- A return-to-duty test with a negative result.
- Unannounced follow-up testing over a period determined by the SAP.
How Long Does a Failed Drug Test Stay on the Clearinghouse?
According to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rules, information about a violation remains on the Clearinghouse until it’s resolved according to the Return-to-Duty (RTD) process guidelines.
Therefore, it’s essential to engage with a qualified SAP as soon as possible to mitigate the consequences and make your way back to your safety-sensitive role.
Can I return to work after a failed DOT drug test?
Yes, but there are necessary steps to take before that happens.
After a failed or refused drug test, you must immediately be removed from performing any DOT safety-sensitive duties.
You can’t return to such duties until you’ve successfully completed the SAP return-to-duty process, which includes evaluation, treatment, a follow-up evaluation, and a negative result on a return-to-duty drug test.
Also, the employer must receive specific documentation of your successful completion of the SAP process.
Is there a SAP Program for CDL drivers in Texas?
As a DOT qualified SAP counselor located in Arlington, TX, I am dedicated to helping CDL drivers navigate the return-to-duty process. At Rainey Counseling Services, we provide a comprehensive SAP program for truck drivers near Arlington and throughout Texas.
From your initial evaluation to your follow-up sessions, we are committed to assisting you every step of the way to reclaim your career.
Failed a DOT Drug Test in Texas?
If you have failed or refused a DOT drug test in Texas, it is essential to seek the help of a qualified SAP counselor promptly. The process might seem daunting, but with professional guidance and personal commitment, you can successfully navigate the SAP return-to-duty process and return to your safety-sensitive function.
For more information about the DOT SAP program or to schedule an evaluation, please visit our contact page.
At Rainey Counseling Services, we are here to help you regain your career and repair your reputation and make your journey towards recovery a successful one. Take the first step today by reaching out to us at 817-781-7235.
What options are there for truck driving jobs after a failed drug test?
After a failed drug test, a truck driver will have to go through the DOT’s Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Program before they can return to safety-sensitive functions. After successful completion of the SAP program and a negative return-to-duty test, they may be eligible to return to their previous job or apply for new truck driving positions.
What happens if you fail a DOT drug test twice?
Failing a DOT drug test twice compounds the issue. The driver must still go through the DOT SAP program each time a test is failed. In addition to the SAP program, the driver may face stricter monitoring, more frequent testing, and potential consequences related to their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
How can I fight a failed DOT drug test?
If you believe that your DOT drug test was inaccurate, you can request a test of the split sample within 72 hours of being notified of a positive test result. It’s also advisable to consult with a lawyer who specializes in DOT regulations and employee rights to understand your options.
Will my CDL be suspended if I fail a drug test?
While failing a DOT drug test doesn’t automatically result in CDL suspension, it does disqualify the driver from performing safety-sensitive functions, like operating a commercial vehicle. However, in certain circumstances and depending on state laws, your CDL could be suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
What happens if you fail a DOT drug test in Texas?
If you fail a DOT drug test in Texas, you’re immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties. You must then undergo a DOT Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation and successfully complete the recommendations before you can return to work.
What are the consequences of refusing a DOT drug test?
Refusing a DOT drug test is considered as serious as failing the test. You will be immediately taken out of any safety-sensitive role and must undergo the DOT SAP program before returning to work.
How long does SAP stay on your record?
According to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule, the record of your DOT SAP process stays on your record for five years or until the return-to-duty process requirements are completed, whichever is longer.
How long is the DOT SAP program?
The length of the DOT SAP program depends on the individual and the recommendations of the SAP following an evaluation. It includes both the time spent in education or treatment and follow-up testing, which can span from one to five years.
Can I return to work after a failed drug test DOT?
Yes, you can return to work after failing a DOT drug test, but only after successfully completing the SAP return-to-duty process, which includes an initial evaluation, compliance with treatment recommendations, a follow-up evaluation, and passing a return-to-duty test.
What happens during SAP evaluation?
During a SAP evaluation, the SAP will assess the individual to determine the extent of their substance use or controlled substances misuse. They will then recommend education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare necessary for the individual to return to duty.
How long does a failed drug test stay on the Clearinghouse?
A failed drug test stays on the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for five years or until the return-to-duty process is completed, whichever is longer.
If you found this article helpful, please share using the social media icons below👇 or consider a 5 star review using the link 👉 HERE. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Rainey Counseling Services.