What Happens if My DOT Drug Test Comes Back Positive?

Drug test report

Trucker deaths are at their highest level in over 30 years and continue to rise. There were 885 truckers deaths in 2018, plus an additional 4,678 people who died as a result of colliding with a large truck. These numbers are what makes passing DOT drug tests mandatory.

A DOT drug test is one administered under the Department of Transportation (DOT) authority. If you work in a job that puts worker or passenger safety at risk you may be subject to DOT alcohol and drug testing. Read on to learn what happens if you fail a DOT drug test.

5-Panel Screening

When you receive notification from your employer that you are to submit to a drug and/or alcohol screening, you must report to the collection location as quickly as possible. The testing facility will administer the following:

The DOT drug test is a five-panel urine sample test that checks for:

  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opiates (including morphine, codeine, and heroin)
  • Amphetamines (including MDMA and methamphetamines)
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana (THC)

Any pharmaceutical medications will also show up, and whether or not this poses a problem will depend on what your line of work is. You also need to be able to provide proof of a prescription for any such drugs.

The DOT will also have you submit to a saliva or breathalyzer test to check your blood alcohol level in comparison to the legal limit.

What Happens if You Fail a Dot Drug Test?

If you fail or refuse to take a test it will be deemed failed and you will be taken off all safety-sensitive duties. You will then need to undergo a substance abuse professional evaluation to continue driving.

The test is not a matter of public record, but it does get input into the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This information is available to all employers and state licensing agencies. If you are in an accident the information is also available to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Whether or not you are able to maintain your job is up to the employer. Even if you lose your job, the DOT will require you to undergo the SAP evaluation.

An SAP is a professional who performs evaluations of employees who violate DOT alcohol and drug testing requirements. That professional then makes recommendations regarding treatment, education, follow-up testing, and aftercare. SAP recommendations are not subject to change by an employer or employee. The decision is final.

Substance Abuse Professional Evaluation

If as a truck driver you fail a DOT alcohol or drug test, you will need to pass a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation. A SAP Evaluation Guide Book will get you off to a great start. The steps you will need to complete to get back on the road include:

  1. Meet with a certified therapist who will prescribe an alcohol or drug treatment program, which includes counseling
  2. Complete therapy successfully and review treatment with your counselor
  3. Take a mandatory DOT return to duty test, which includes a breathalyzer and urine test under observation
  4. Be subject to six (6) random drug and breathalyzer tests taken under observation
  5. The therapist has the discretion of prescribing up to five (5) additional years of testing

Once you receive a negative return to duty test you will able to begin driving truck again. You will need to continue with all follow-up testing and any other requirements of the SAP

Learn About Work Environments

Now that you know what happens if you fail a DOT drug test, we recommend you check out our other blogs. That is where you will find great information on all aspects of work and business.  Don’t hesitate—knowledge is power!