|If you’re an FTA employee who failed a drug test, learn the 10 most critical steps you must take to return to your career quickly and safely in 2024.
Short on time? Scroll down to the most Frequently Asked Questions at the end of the article. ⬇️
But it doesn’t have to be! 🤔
From 1997 to 2018, FTA random drug testing rates stayed at 25%. Due to an increase in positive results for random drug testing, the FTA was required to raise the drug testing rate to 50%.FMCSA
If you understand FTA rules and regulations on drug testing (which this article explains) and take the necessary steps (we will get that part later) then you can retain your current FTA job or become eligible for an FTA job in the future!
|In a rush? 🚀 Just click the link below to jump to the Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section! ⬇️
What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test?
Failing a drug test hits hard.
You’ll be stopped from performing safety-sensitive functions (driving a commercial vehicle) and may face termination.
But there is path to regaining your CDL job safely and maintaining your career through the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) program.
This program, part of the FMCSA Clearinghouse, is designed to help you tackle the issues related to drug misuse and get your life back on track!
If you’re an FTA employee who’s recently failed a drug test, know that you’re not alone.
Drug testing isn’t something to take lightly—especially given that the 2023 random testing rates are holding at 50% for drugs and 10% for alcohol among FTA employees.Federal Transit Authority Report
Nearly 6 million people employed in safety-sensitive transportation jobs are under the DOT drug and alcohol regulations, and the numbers show why these tests are crucial for the protection of the driver and the general public.
Is There a Free DOT SAP Program Near Me?
No, the DOT SAP program costs can vary widely based on your individual circumstances and the specific SAP providers you choose.
However, some transportation companies (and city municipalities) do offer EAP benefits to offset the cost of the DOT SAP return-to-duty program.
Breakdown of Potential DOT SAP Return-to-Duty Program Costs
- SAP Services: SAP evaluations and follow-up services usually come at a cost of $500 with additional costs for follow-up drug testing.
- Treatment and Education Programs: The SAP may recommend treatment or education programs, which may also involve additional costs.
- Follow-Up Testing: Follow-up testing costs may be the responsibility of the employer or employee, depending on company policy and labor agreements.
If you want to enroll in a DOT SAP program, search SapList using your zip code to find a local DOT qualified SAP counselor near you.
As for typical costs, the national average cost for a SAP evaluation is between $500 to $600 with drug tests averaging between $30 to $60 dollars each.DOT SAP Return to Duty Program for FAA Employees
If money is a concern, it is not uncommon for FTA employees to contact several local SAP counselors for a free phone consultation to determine the best fit between you and the designated SAP counselor.
What Is the SAP Return-To-Duty Program for FTA Employees?
After a failed drug test, even a pre-employment drug test, the process to get back to work involves several steps.
Initially, you will need to choose a local SAP counselor by searching SAPList using your zip code and then designate your SAP counselor in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
You’ll need to complete the return-to-duty program, under the guidance of your designated SAP, before you’re eligible to take a return-to-duty test.
If you pass, that’s your ticket back to your job.
But remember, the journey doesn’t end there—unannounced follow-up tests are part of the deal to ensure continued compliance.
What Are the Steps in the SAP Return-to-Duty Program?
Again, choosing a designated DOT authorized Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) in the Clearinghouse is the first step.
Here’s what you can expect next:
The Return-to-Duty (RTD) Process Explained
- Initial Evaluation:
- The SAP evaluates the nature and extent of your substance misuse.
- Recommendations for treatment and/or education are made based on the evaluation.
- Rehabilitation Program:
- Follow the prescribed rehabilitation program.
- The program’s length and content vary based on individual circumstances.
- Follow-Up Evaluation:
- Once the program is completed, a follow-up evaluation is conducted.
- The SAP assesses your progress and readiness to return to work.
- Return-to-Duty Process:
- After a successful follow-up evaluation, the return-to-duty process begins.
- This includes a return-to-duty test and follow-up testing.
“The journey to regaining control of your life and career requires a commitment to completing the entire rehabilitation program.”
Returning to Duty After a Failed Drug Test
Returning to duty after a failed drug test involves several steps:
- Return-to-Duty Test:
- Pass the return-to-duty test to resume safety-sensitive functions.
- This test is crucial for re-establishing your professional standing.
- Follow-Up Testing:
- Unannounced follow-up tests are administered post-rehabilitation.
- A minimum of 6 tests within the first 12 months of passing the return-to-duty test is typical.
- Maintaining Compliance:
- Stay compliant with all the testing requirements to retain your job.
- Regular follow-ups with the SAP and adherence to any additional recommendations are key.
|Pass to resume safety-sensitive functions
|Min. 6 tests in 12 months
|Regular follow-ups, adherence to recommendations
What Happens If You Fail a Pre-Employment Drug Test for an FTA Job?
Failing a pre-employment drug test is a serious matter, especially when it comes to securing a job within the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Here’s what you need to know:
- Immediate Consequences:
- Failing a pre-employment drug test generally results in an immediate withdrawal of the job offer.
- The failed test will be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, which can affect your ability to secure FTA or other safety-sensitive positions in the future.
- Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Engagement:
- Although not hired by the FTA, you’re still encouraged to consult with a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to address any substance misuse issues.
- This is a proactive step to better position yourself for future employment opportunities within the FTA or other DOT-regulated entities.
- Engaging in a rehabilitation program, as suggested by the SAP, can help address substance misuse issues.
- Successfully completing a rehabilitation program can be a positive step towards ensuring future employers that you’ve addressed past substance misuse issues.
- After completing the recommended rehabilitation program and meeting other requirements, you may be eligible for retesting.
- Passing a subsequent drug test is crucial for demonstrating your commitment to maintaining a drug-free status.
- Documenting Your Journey:
- Keep thorough documentation of your rehabilitation process, SAP consultations, and any negative drug test results.
- This documentation can be useful when applying for FTA or other safety-sensitive positions in the future.
Failing a pre-employment drug test for an FTA job can be a major setback, but with the right steps and a committed approach to addressing any underlying issues, you can work towards securing future employment within the FTA or similar organizations.
The key is to address the issue head-on, engage with a SAP, and maintain a proactive, positive approach to overcoming this challenge.
Can You Still Be Hired for an FTA Job After Failing a Drug Test?
Absolutely! The road to re-employment within the FTA after a failed drug test is structured by the DOT to ensure that you are well-prepared and rehabilitated to return to a safety-sensitive position.
Having gone through the DOT SAP Return-To-Duty (RTD) process not only equips you with the necessary tools to maintain a substance-free lifestyle but also showcases your dedication and responsibility towards adhering to safety standards, which are paramount in the FTA.
When reapplying for FTA jobs, your completion of the SAP program and adherence to a drug-free lifestyle post-rehabilitation are strong indicators of your commitment to ensuring safety and compliance in the workplace.
Remember to be honest about your past, showcasing the steps you’ve taken to overcome challenges, and focusing on your readiness and enthusiasm to contribute positively to the FTA job role can significantly enhance your chances of re-employment.
FTA employees are encouraged to contact an HR representative to confirm your specific company policies regarding drug testing violations.
What Are the FTA Drug Testing Policies and Regulations?
FTA employees in safety-sensitive positions are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing, including pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing as outlined by DOT guidelines.
Click to watch the FTA Drug Abuse Awareness Video to learn more about FTA drug testing policies and regulations below!👇
How Long Does a Violation Remain on FMCSA Clearinghouse for FTA Employees?
For CDL drivers, a drug or alcohol violation remains on the FMCSA Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation, or until the violation is resolved through the successful completion of the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing.
What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test 3 Times?
Failing a DOT drug test multiple times would mean undergoing the SAP return-to-duty process each time, which includes SAP evaluation, recommended treatment, a follow-up evaluation, and passing a return-to-duty test.
Each failure requires the DOT SAP process to begin again, which will likely negatively impact future employment opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions 🙋
How long does failed DOT drug test stay on record?
A failed DOT drug test stays on record for five years in the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, affecting CDL and CLP holders, including FTA employees with these licenses.
Can a DOT drug test be wrong?
Yes, DOT drug tests can have errors, though they are extreemly rare due to strict protocols. Contact a qualified SAP who can guide you through the process if you believe there was a mistake.
How far back can a DOT drug test detect?
A DOT drug test, using a urine sample, can typically detect drugs used within the past few days to a week, but this can vary based on factors like the substance used, the frequency of use, and the individual’s metabolism.
Is DOT drug test different than a regular drug test?
Yes, a DOT drug test is different from a regular drug test. DOT (Department of Transportation) drug tests are specifically designed to meet the requirements set by the DOT for safety-sensitive positions in industries such as transportation, aviation, and pipeline.
These tests follow strict guidelines and require testing for a specific panel of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).
How To Fight A Failed DOT Drug Test?
If you want to fight a failed DOT drug test, you can take the following steps:
1. Review the test results: Carefully review the details of the failed drug test, including the substances detected and the testing procedures used.
2. Consult an attorney: Seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in employment law or drug testing regulations to understand your rights and legal options.
3. Request a retest: In certain cases, you may have the right to request a retest to confirm the results. Consult your attorney to determine if this is a viable option for you.
4. Understand the testing process: Familiarize yourself with the DOT drug testing regulations and guidelines to ensure that the testing was conducted correctly and in compliance with the required procedures.
5. Gather evidence: Collect any evidence that could support your case, such as witness statements, medical prescriptions, or proof of a legitimate medical condition that could have caused a false positive.
6. Challenge the results: If you believe there were errors or violations during the testing process, you can challenge the results through the appropriate channels, such as filing a dispute with the testing laboratory or the agency responsible for conducting the test.
7. Follow legal procedures: Ensure that you follow all necessary legal procedures and deadlines when filing disputes or appeals related to the failed drug test.
Remember, it’s essential to consult with a professional attorney familiar with employment law and drug testing regulations to get accurate advice tailored to your specific situation.
What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test Twice?
Failing a DOT drug test twice heightens the severity of the consequences. This could lead to a longer suspension, mandatory treatment, and an extended period before you can return to duty. It is crucial to engage with a SAP to navigate this situation.
What are the consequences of failing a DOT drug test?
The consequences of failing a DOT drug test are significant and include removal from safety-sensitive duties, mandatory evaluation by a SAP, potential loss of employment, and the violation being reported on your record in the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
How long does a failed DOT drug test take?
The duration for receiving results from a failed DOT drug test can vary depending on the testing facility and the specific circumstances. However, in most cases, you can expect to receive the results within a few days to a week.
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