DOT SAP and Return-to-Duty Process

DOT SAP and Return-to-Duty Process | DOT Compliance | CNS

What is the return-to-duty and follow-up DOT SAP process?

After a driver receives a failed drug test result, they must begin the return-to-duty process in order to get back on the road, and then continue a follow-up testing process for the next 12+ months.

It is more evident today for employers and drivers to understand this SAP process. In the first two months, the new DOT Clearinghouse has calculated over 11,000 drivers found with a positive drug test result. These employees are now walking through the SAP and return-to-duty process before they can begin safety-sensitive functions.

This process begins with an evaluation of a substance abuse professional, as required in the federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O.

Learn more about:
FMCSA Clearinghouse: What is it, common issues and FAQs

What is a DOT SAP?

The Substance Abuse Professional, or “SAP”, according to the DOT, is “a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.”

The SAP makes the important decisions on whether or not an employee is ready to drive a truck, school bus, oil tanker, train, airplane, subway car, or other regulated vehicles and how long the follow-up testing end education program should take.

How much does a DOT SAP program cost?

There are several different ways to evaluate the cost of the SAP process. There is the initial SAP examination fee, the education program, the DOT return-to-duty drug test, and the 6+ follow-up testing program.

Unfortunately, the length of the follow-up testing program can be 12 months to 5 years, depending on the SAPs recommendation. So it is hard to estimate a total cost.

On average, the SAP evaluation process can cost between $400 to $500. Drug tests average between $30 to $60 dollars each. The minimum SAP and follow-up testing program can cost an employer or the driver, depending on the company policy of who pays for the program, to be at least $700 for the first year.

How long is the DOT SAP program?

Each SAP program is customized for the person going through it, which can cause a wide range of time when estimating the length of a SAP program. However, this process can be split into two major sections: the time to return-to-duty, and the time to finish the follow-up testing program.

First, there is the SAP evaluation and return-to-duty process so a driver can get back to safety-sensitive functions. This process includes finding a qualified DOT SAP, the SAP evaluation, the SAP talking to a physician if the driver is convinced that a prescription could have caused a false-positive drug test, the length of time to finish an education treatment program,  the second SAP evaluation after completing the program, and passing a return-to-duty drug test. This whole process can take weeks to months to finish.

Second, there is the follow-up testing program. According to the regulations, the SAP is required to recommend a minimum of 6 unannounced observed drug tests in the first 12 months after returning to duty. However, the SAP can recommend a program of follow-up drug tests for as long as 5 years. A repeated failed or refused test could require the process to be started all over.

What is the DOT return-to-duty process?

Before an employee can return to duty for safety-sensitive functions, they must complete the return-to-duty process. Once a positive test result is found, the following steps are required:

  • Immediately remove the employee from safety-sensitive
  • Find a qualified DOT SAP and complete an initial SAP evaluation
  • Finish a SAP recommended education or treatment program
  • When finished, complete a second SAP evaluation
  • If the SAP report is good, complete a return-to-duty observed drug test

Once the DER receives the negative result, the employee can begin safety-sensitive functions again.

However, after the second SAP evaluation, a follow-up testing schedule is given to the DER. The follow-up testing schedule is a minimum of 6 unannounced observed drug tests within the first 12 months of returning to safety-sensitive work and can last up to 60 months, or five years, depending on the SAP recommendation. 


For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse? Common issues and FAQs

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse? | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

On January 6, 2020, the FMCSA launched the FMCSA Clearinghouse, an online database where CDL driver drug and alcohol testing violations and return-to-duty information will be stored and searched.

The purpose of the FMCSA Clearinghouse is to prevent job hopping of CDL drivers with positive drug and alcohol test results, refusal to test or information on a driver’s return-to-duty process.

DOT Clearinghouse: Employers and CDL Drivers

There are many new procedures that drivers, employers, consortium/TPAs and others must follow with the FMCSA Clearinghouse now in effect for pre-employment, random testing and return-to-duty processes.

Employers of CDL drivers must follow a new drug testing process when hiring a potential new driver before a pre-employment drug test can be done at a collection site.

What is required of employers?

  1. Before the new hire driver can be tested, the employer needs to:
    • make sure the driver is registered to the FMCSA Clearinghouse,
    • then request electronic driver consent to run a detailed query,
    • run a query on the driver (employer or C/TPA), and
    • ensure no recent negative drug testing history is present

After the detailed query is done, the pre-employment drug test can continue as part of the pre-employment new-hire process.

  1. Employers must query the Clearinghouse and request 3 years of drug and alcohol testing history until January 6, 2023.
    • After that, the clearinghouse query will replace the need for employer requests.
  1. Employers must run annual limited queries for current drivers at least once a year.
    • If the limited query returns any results, a detailed query is required.

What is required of CDL drivers?

There are 3 reasons why CDL drivers need to register to the DOT clearinghouse:

  1. drivers are changing employers
    • registering allows employers to run queries to gather useful information during the hiring process
  2. drivers are registering with an SAP after a violation, and
  3. currently employed drivers are giving consent for an annual query

Let us know how we can help:
Ask us about our Drug and Alcohol Services

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse FAQ

Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse mandatory?

Yes, it is mandatory if your business is governed by the FMCSA.

Information in the FMCSA Clearinghouse database will include:

  1. positive drug and alcohol test results
  2. refusal to test, and/or
  3. information on CDL driver’s return-to-duty process
    • if the CMV has a gross weight greater than 26,000 pounds, has more than 15 seatbelts or is hauling anything requiring DOT HAZMAT placards.

Who must register for the FMCSA clearinghouse?

Registration is mandatory for authorized users so they are able to access the Clearinghouse database and the information mentioned above.

Authorized users include:

  • Drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Employers of CDL drivers. This includes those who employ themselves as CDL drivers (i.e. – owner-operators)
  • Consortia/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs)
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)

Violations can occur if:

  • annual driver queries are not performed in a timely manner
  • required information is not loaded into the database, or
  • if pre-employment drug tests are performed before a new hire gives consent for a detailed query

Note: CMV drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse; however, they will need to register to respond to pre-employment queries or other full queries.


How do CDL drivers register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

To register, or for assistance registering, drivers can go to the
DOT Clearinghouse website for instructions.

How do employers register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

To register, or for assistance registering, employers can go to the
DOT Clearinghouse website for instructions.


FMCSA Clearinghouse registration issues

The FMCSA Clearinghouse registration process faced many issues when first launched, most of which are now fixed.

Some of the common issues that employers or owner-operators may face when registering include:

  1. Companies have set up their FMCSA Portal account and do not remember their user-ID, security questions, or email address on the account.
    • Solution: Call the FMCSA to prove who they are before gaining access.
  2. Companies have not set-up an FMCSA Portal account and forgot their DOT Pin number.
    • Solution: Fill out a form to request their pin.
    • If you are a carrier before 2010, and there is an old email or no email or phone number, the government will have to mail your DOT Pin number, taking 7-10 business days.
  3. Owner-operators seeing errors preventing query purchases is most likely because they are seen as the “employer” and the “driver” and are stuck in the “driver” role.
    • Issue: If you hover over “My Dashboard” and see “Queries” and click “Buy”, an error can pop up.
    • Solution: To get around this, look for the dark blue text that says “Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse”, click there. This sort of refreshes your dashboard and you should now see an option to “Change Your Role”. You need to change your role from “Driver” to “Employer”. Now, you can hover over “My Dashboard”, and click “Buy” where it says queries.

FMCSA Clearinghouse Problems, Hiring Delays and Violations

With any major regulatory rollout, there are always unforeseen issues or new problems that appear.

Some of these problems include:

  1. January 2021, Clearinghouse website may crash again.
    • Early Clearinghouse registration issues led officials to advise employers to wait to register until December 2020 or January 2021. Consequently, a large spike in DOT Clearinghouse web traffic is expected as companies rush to register and submit annual queries to the DOT Clearinghouse before the deadline.
  2. FMCSA Clearinghouse will catch drivers at roadside.
    • According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, starting April 1, 2020, drivers who are prohibited from driving—per the CDL Clearinghouse—will immediately be put out-of-service by CVSA roadside enforcement inspectors and employers will need to arrange for another driver to pick up the load.
  3. Hiring driver process issues:
    • Employer sends a consent request, but the driver has not registered to the Clearinghouse to authorize consent.
      • FMCSA will mail a letter to the driver regarding the consent request (2-3 week process)
    • Employer falsely tells a drug testing site that driver consent was given. If audited, the employer can be held at fault if the violation of no consent was caught, causing delays in the pre-employment testing process, headaches for companies and drug testing sites not up-to-date on Clearinghouse rules.
  4. What happens if you fail or refuse a DOT drug screen?
    • In the first 2 months the DOT Clearinghouse was in effect, over 11,000 drivers were found with a positive drug test and must begin the return-to-duty and SAP process before getting back on the road.

Learn more about:
DOT SAP and Return-To-Duty Process


Drug and Alcohol Services

Do you need help registering to the FMCSA Clearinghouse or looking to switch to a trusted drug testing consortium?

At CNS, we offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Speed up DOT drug test results from collection site to labs

DOT drug test results

Need faster DOT drug test results?

With trucking’s high driver turnover and competitive job market, fleets risk losing top candidates if their hiring process is not efficient.

When an employer sends a potential hire to a collection site for a DOT drug test, the company hopes to receive the results quickly in order to get the new-hire through the hiring process as quickly as possible.

In an attempt to speed up the new-hire process, it is important for fleets to understand how drug test results can be delayed before finding solutions to get results faster.

The DOT drug testing process can be split into three areas: collection sites, labs, and—if a positive test result—the MRO, all of which can cause preventable delays in the entire process.

What are some causes of delays in drug test results?

Delays at collection sites

Delays caused at collection sites are usually caused by a simple collector mistake. For example, each sample should have the donor’s and the collector’s signature on the vial, and the collector may have forgotten. Also, the required forms may not have been filed at the collection site to have the errors fixed before lab testing of the samples can begin.

Beyond these simple collector errors, many smaller or remote collection sites do not send the urine samples to the labs on a daily basis. They may only have a courier come every two or three days before being shipped to labs for testing.

Also, many collection sites may not have a male or female collector available for an observed collection, forcing the donor to wait for that staff member to come in or being advised to find another collection site with proper staffing.

These delays could easily be avoided by working with a best-in-class collection site who use trained collectors, or using a drug and alcohol consortium who verifies quality collection sites in their network and, if a mistake is made, they continually follow-up on the status of the results. 

Delays at the lab

Once the donor provides a sample, it is quickly sent to a drug testing lab for testing. Labs receive thousands of these specimens daily and each one must have their chain of custody form reviewed for accuracy.

Many of the flaws are correctable and an affidavit or memorandum is sent to the collector to be corrected and sent back. Once a completed chain of custody form or required signatures are received for the specimen sample, the specimen then goes through an initial base screen test.

If the drug test results is negative, no further testing is needed and the employer is quickly notified of the negative result. Negative results are often received within 24-48 hours.

If a non-negative result is found in the initial base screen test, the sample goes through a Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) test process that includes breaking down the urine sample.

A delay in results from the lab can happen if the GCMS test does not affirm a negative or positive result. If this is the case, the specimen goes through another GCMS test process until an affirmative negative, positive, negative-dilute or positive-dilute result is given.

According to most labs, each round of GCMS testing is a batch of other specimens and each batch only gets ran once per 24 hours. If this happens, the delay of this donor’s drug test is unavoidable.

If a positive test is affirmed, the results are sent to a Medical Review Process (MRO). The MRO review process can take over a week to complete as the MRO attempts to reach the donor, has an initial interview with the donor, and, if the donor claims a prescription could have caused a false-positive, the MRO follows a procedure to verify the prescription.

Speed up the hiring process with fast DOT drug test results

Compliance Navigation Specialists ensure that the hiring process runs as efficiently as possible in order to speed up the pre-employment process. Not only do we help with your consortium, collection site and MRO services, we take it one step further.

Our Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program is the most comprehensive service we offer, covering all of your needs to manage your business, including driver qualification files, consortium management, ELD management, vehicle maintenance and more.

Many companies are finding it increasingly hard to maintain proper systems to make sure they are staying compliant throughout the year. We are your best solution, to support or act as, your safety department for a fraction of what it costs to hire a DOT Safety Director.

We pride ourselves in being flexible for our clients and working with all types of carriers from busy owner operators to larger fleets. CNS will be a valuable asset by keeping your company safe, compliant, aware of regulatory changes, proactive in all phases of potential risks, as well as profitable.

Learn more of what is included in our complete PSM program

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT Rules on CBD Usage and Truck Drivers

CBD usage

Can truckers use CBD oils?

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) and related products has trended in recent years. It’s common now to see many products labeled with CBD as an ingredient.

However, it’s important to remain aware of FDA regulations concerning CBD, and the DOT stance on the use of CBD for drivers.

Is CBD considered marijuana or not?

The classification of a product as marijuana depends on the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the product. Anything containing more than 0.3% THC is classified as marijuana.

Cannabidiol (CBD) products do contain levels of THC, sometimes above or below the marijuana classification levels.

DOT drug testing: Required for marijuana, not CBD

The DOT requires drivers to test for marijuana, but not for CBD. However, the labeling of CBD products can be misleading. If the product contains a higher than 0.3% cannabidiol concentration, it would fall into the category of marijuana.

Drivers taking a marijuana drug test after using a CBD product with higher levels of THC would end up testing positive for marijuana.

>>> What to know about a DOT drug test <<<

CBD usage and labeling confusions

Because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t certify levels of THC in CBD products, there’s very little way to tell if the labels are accurate. A person could end up unknowingly using a product that falls into the marijuana classification.

The FDA reminds the public that “it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.” Many companies have received FDA warning because their products exceed the CBD levels listed on their label.

Therefore, it’s entirely possible that CBD product you’re using COULD in fact, be classified as a marijuana product.

This creates a dangerous situation for people who require drug testing, including safety-sensitive drivers.

DOT, Marijuana and Cannabidiol (CBD)

Because the DOT does not allow the use of marijuana for any reason, drivers who use a CBD product could unintentionally run afoul of DOT regulations.

If a driver tests positive for marijuana, but was only using a CBD product, this claim will not be allowable. Laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive results will stand regardless of the drivers claim of CBD product usage.

Avoiding CBD usage is the best precaution

Drivers risk getting a marijuana positive test from the use of CBD products. Since employees subject to the DOT drug testing regulations are forbidden from using marijuana, great care must be taken with CBD products. Exercise caution about using CBD products. Because the labeling is often inaccurate, there are many unknowns about the actual levels of CBD in the products.

Remember positive drug tests remain on your record for three years. A positive test can require additional driver retraining and fines. A driver’s employment and income could be put in danger.

Why run the risk of having a positive drug test on your driving record? Avoiding the use of CBD products keeps your record clean, and keeps you worry-free when taking mandatory drug tests.


Drug and Alcohol Services

We offer a number of services related to drug and alcohol requirements

If you have any concerns regarding CBD usage or any other questionable prescription medications, we can answer any questions you have.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT Random Drug Testing Percentage Rate Increase (2020)

DOT Random Drug Testing

50% increase for DOT random drug testing

Each year, the FMCSA evaluates the rate of positive testing results for controlled substances. Depending on the reported figures, they modify their testing percentage rates.

For 2020, according to the FMCSA’s notice of program change, the testing percentage rate for controlled substances has increased to 50% of the average number of driver positions.

This new testing rate increase affects drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Final rule regarding DOT random drug testing rates

When the number of positive tests for controlled substances in a calendar year increase to equal or greater than 1%, the FMCSA must also increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate.

The rates increase on January 1 of the following calendar year. This accounts for a delay in application of this final rule to a full year after results are reported.

The results of the 2018 FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey showed a 1% increase in the rate of positive tests for controlled substances. As a result, the percentage rate for DOT random drug testing increased from 25% to 50 % of the average number of driver positions. This increase went into effect on January 1, 2020.

The testing rates for alcohol will remain the same, which is 10% of the average number of driver positions.

Increased testing rates equals increased industry cost

It is estimated that the cost of additional testing will add between $50 to $70 million more to industry costs.

With the new 2020 testing rate, approximately 2.1 million random controlled substances tests will be conducted, doubling from the previous years’ 1.05 million tests.


Drug and Alcohol Services

We offer a number of services related to drug and alcohol requirements

If you have questions or need help with your drug and alcohol program, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2020 Clearinghouse Rule changes: Forms Reporting (part 2)


The new 2020 Clearinghouse Rule went into effect on January 6, 2020. Even as new laws are rolled out, there can be last minute changes. At CNS, we want to be sure we’re keeping you up to date on the latest news and information regarding the Clearinghouse, as well as other U.S. DOT regulations.

On December 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a bulletin changing the data requirements on two of their forms relating to the Clearinghouse.

Here’s what is important to know about the upcoming change in recording information on these forms.

Which forms are being changed?

The two forms being changed are:

What has changed on the forms?

The main change to these forms is the way drivers are identified in the form when positive test results are reported.

Currently, you can use either the driver’s social security number (SSN) or their employee Identification number (EIN) when recording on these forms.

Effective January 6, 2020, you will be required to use the commercial driver’s license number (CDL) only when positive drug or alcohol tests are reported via these two forms.

Who do these form changes affect?

  • Employers
  • Consortia/Third Party Administrators (C/TPAs)
  • Collection sites
  • Laboratories
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs)

How can I stay compliant with this change?

Our Compliance Specialists can assist you with any questions you might have. Please call us at 888.260.9448 or email us at info@cnsprotects.com.

Employers should check data systems to ensure compliance

The best way to ensure compliance when reporting positive drug and alcohol test results to the Clearinghouse via the CCF and ATF forms is to check your current data systems. Moving forward, data systems need the capability to input an identification number of up to 25 characters in order to enter a CDL number.

Employers must annotate accurately

When completing the CCF or the ATF, the entry personnel “must annotate the driver’s CDL number and State of Issuance in Step 1, Section C of the CCF or Step 1B of the ATF for each FMCSA-regulated test.”

Medical Review Officers (MROs) should follow up on missing data

When an MRO receives a CCF form without a driver’s CDL number and State of Issuance, they should follow up to obtain this missing data. Contact the driver, the driver’s employee, or the designated employer representative to obtain the accurate information.

The MRO should report all verified positive tests results in the Clearinghouse.

Stay updated on the new Clearinghouse Rule

As the new Clearinghouse rolls out in 2020 and into the future, there may be more changes and adjustments. The CNS blog will keep you updated on all news, changes, and support you and your company in staying compliant with the new Clearinghouse Rule.

Please be sure your company and your employees register with the Clearinghouse by January 6, 2020 to avoid delays in processing forms and new hires.

For additional information on the Clearinghouse, including FAQ and Registration information, visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.


Drug and Alcohol Services

Compliance Navigation Specialists offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA).

We work with Quest Diagnostics and have over 10,000 locations available for testing.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Comply with 2020 mandatory Clearinghouse Rule (part 1)


On January 6, 2020, the Clearinghouse Rule, implemented by Congress in 2016, goes into mandatory effect.

How does this impact drivers and companies?

It depends on the size of your fleet, but one fact is clear, every carrier must participate.

Of course, all drivers with a CDL have already had to comply with the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol regulations. Until now, all CDL drivers should have been in a random drug-and-alcohol consortium. However, the new Rule goes a step further than that.

Beginning January 6, 2020, all drivers holding a CDL are responsible for setting up an account in the Clearinghouse, including large-to-mid-sized fleets and owner-operators.

If you need assistance setting up an account in the Clearinghouse, please call us at 888.260.9448 or email us at info@cnsprotects.com.

The FMCSA is aware that not all CDL drivers are currently registered in a drug-and-alcohol consortium. With the new regulations finally going into effect, it will be virtually impossible for owner-operators to avoid being in the Clearinghouse.

For instance, all drivers need to have an annual query (an electronic check) run in the Clearinghouse. Therefore, an owner-operator, employing themselves as a single-driver, must hire a consortium or third-party administrator (C/TPA) to run a query.

Or, a driver looking to switch employers needs to be in the Clearinghouse for a prospective employer to run a full query. Queries will show whether there is anything in the Clearinghouse on that driver that requires further investigation or prohibits them from performing safety-sensitive functions.

We offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Services and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA). If you are in need consortium management, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

What information is stored in the Clearinghouse?

The CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will store three years of data on drivers including positive drug tests, test refusals, and alcohol violations. Complete and incomplete return-to-duty processes will also be recorded. This information will remain in the Clearinghouse database for three years.

Employers and fleets may run two types of queries:

  • Full queries (required for new hires) supply all information details
  • Limited queries (required for all drivers annually) will only reveal whether or not the database contains any information on the driver; carriers can ask for full queries after that finding

Ensure compliance with new FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Regulations

Now that the Clearinghouse Rule becomes mandatory in less than a month, here’s what drivers and companies can do to become compliant:

CDL Drivers

All CDL drivers need to have an account for any prospective or current employer to run the required new-hire queries. Drivers can also view records and petition for any corrections as needed.

If you are a CDL driver, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Register an account in the Clearinghouse
  2. Provide electronic consent to release information during a full query
    1. If a driver does not give consent within 24 hours, they are disqualified from driving until authorization is given
  3. Review records for accuracy
  4. Identify a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to report on return-to-duty activities if unresolved violations are on record

Owner-operators (one-truck/independent)

Any single-driver operation must comply with requirements for BOTH employees (drivers) and employers (fleets/companies).

If you are a one-truck or independent owner-operator, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Register an account in the Clearinghouse as a company
  2. Designate a consortium or third-party administrator (C/TPA) to handle queries. This is required of all owner-operators (Contact Compliance Navigation Specialists)
  3. Notify the consortium (or TPA) that they are the designee.
  4. Amend any contracts to reflect the designated consortium (Designation and contract amendments will be two separate steps, and both must be carried out)
  5. Purchase bundles of queries for the consortium to query the database on an annual basis

OPTIONAL: Invite assistants/other employees to allow them access to the Clearinghouse on your behalf. They should register as part of your company.

Owner-operators (leased)

If you are a leased owner-operator, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Register an account in the Clearinghouse
  2. Although not explicitly stated in the Rule, an account is needed for switching fleets, as each new fleet will need to make a query
  3. Provide electronic consent for full queries

Small and large fleet operators

The two main changes for small and large fleet operators are amending policies and employee information.

If you are a small or large fleet operator, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Register as an employer in the Clearinghouse
  2. Purchase bundles of queries
  3. Amend fleet policies to reflect that any positive drug tests, test refusals, or violations will be submitted to the Clearinghouse
  4. Explain these new policies to drivers prior to January 6, 2020
  5. Determine if administration of drug-screening will be handled in-house or outsourced. If outsourced, designate the provider in the Clearinghouse and contract them as a designee (Designation and contract amendments will be two separate steps, and both must be carried out)
  6. Continue to call applicant’s prior employees to ask about failed or refused drug tests until 2023. Since the Clearinghouse will not reflect past data, it will take three years until the Clearinghouse is fully up-to-date.

OPTIONAL: Designate a consortium or third-party administrator (C/TPA) to handle queries.

Learn more about changes to Clearinghouse reporting forms


Drug and Alcohol Services

Register now to ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations

Compliance Navigation Specialists offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA).

We work with Quest Diagnostics and have over 10,000 locations available for testing.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT drug test: Who, what, when and how


As directed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), all CDL drivers and their employers are required to follow the rules related to DOT drug tests.

Who is given a DOT drug test?

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are required to take a drug test and their employers must ensure their drivers are tested before operating a CMV.

Below is a full list of those required to be tested.

  • employers of CDL drivers operating CMVs on public roads
  • CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads
  • interstate motor carriers
  • intrastate motor carriers
  • federal, state, and local governments
  • civic organizations (disabled veteran transport, boy/girl scouts, etc.)
  • faith-based organizations

What substances are tested?

The DOT requires testing of alcohol and five drug classes, including:

  1. Marijuana
  2. Cocaine
  3. Opiates
  4. Amphetamines or methamphetamines
  5. PCP

Alcohol tests will identify alcohol in the system at .02 BAC and more.                      

Motor carriers can also implement a separate testing program in addition to, and distinct from, the required DOT testing program, under which they are able to test for other drugs.

What types of DOT drug tests are there and when are they given?

DOT drug and alcohol tests are given in several different scenarios, including:

  1. pre-employment – before starting work as a CDL driver and operating a CMV
  2. post-accident – drug and alcohol tests may be required after an accident depending on the circumstances. Learn when post-accident drug tests are required.
  3. random – random testing programs are required by law for all DOT-regulated motor carriers
  4. reasonable suspicion – if a driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an area in which supervisors must be trained in identifying.
  5. return-to-duty – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law
  6. follow-up – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law

>>> DOT Random Drug Testing Percentage Increase <<<

What is the DOT drug testing process?

The DOT has a strict process for administering drug tests and the steps are the same for all six types.

  1. Go to the collection site with a valid ID and provide a sample before leaving.
  2. Provide your urine sample in the designated collection area. The collection process will be private unless required, as in a return-to-duty or follow-up test.
  3. When finished with the sample, provide the container to the collector and observe as they split the sample into two containers, seal them with tamper-evident tape and allow you to sign the tape before you leave.
  4. Provide your contact information and verify your name and date of birth so the Medical Review Officer (MRO) can get in touch with the results.

Drug and alcohol testing

Where does a driver get a DOT drug test?

Compliance Navigation Specialists works with Quest Diagnostics and have over 10,000 locations available for testing, whether it is necessary after an accident or for a pre-employment screening.

We also offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) for companies that are regulated by Federal and State government.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT post-accident drug test requirements


As a DOT-regulated motor carrier, it is extremely important to ensure all CDL drivers are in top physical and mental condition while operating these highly complex and powerful commercial motor vehicles. Driver awareness of post-accident drug test requirements is also crucial.

Although we do everything possible to prevent accidents, there are times when circumstances are beyond our control, making the post-accident steps one of the most important pieces of knowledge for a CDL driver. A driver’s responsibilities do not stop at the site of the accident.

What are the different types of DOT drug tests?

There are several situations in which a DOT drug test is required, including:

  1. pre-employment – before starting work as a CDL driver
  2. post-accident – applies to certain situations following an accident
  3. random – random testing program require by law for all DOT-regulated motor carriers
  4. reasonable suspicion – if a driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5. return-to-duty – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law
  6. follow-up – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law

When is a post-accident drug and alcohol test required?

Drug and alcohol tests are not required after every accident. A CDL driver is required to take a post-accident drug test if:

  • the accident results in one or more fatalities
  • injury was incurred that required medical treatment away from the scene and the driver received a citation (Note: no citation = no drug and alcohol test)
  • any vehicle is towed, and the driver received a citation (Note: no citation = no drug and alcohol test)

Also, it is important to note that a driver is still liable to take a drug and alcohol test if a citation issued within 32 hours of the accident. If a citation is issued after the 8 hour mark, the motor carrier must make a note saying “a citation was not issued until this time, which was after the 8 hours for alcohol testing.”

How much time do I have to get a post-accident drug test?

A driver has 2 hours in which an alcohol test should be completed, however it must be completed within 8 hours. If the driver goes over the 2-hour mark, they must provide an explanation as to why there was a delay and the motor carrier must provide a written explanation and keep in their company files.

A drug test needs to be completed as soon as possible; however, it must be completed within 32 hours. At times there might be a delay in the issuance of a citation, however as long as the citation is issued with 32 hours, a drug and alcohol test is required.

Drivers often run into issues with meeting these timeframes because they will be kept at the scene of an accident for several hours or an investigation must be completed to determine if the driver was at fault.

What if I miss the maximum time frame allowed?

If a driver does not get his post-accident drug test before the maximum allowed time, the company needs to make a note in their files as to the reason why, however it is too late and the company will be out of compliance and face fines and audit penalties, so completing the drug test within the allowed time is imperative.

What about on-site tests, such as a DUI test or breathalyzer?

If an officer conducts a DUI test or a breathalyzer at the scene of an accident, a driver is still required to follow protocol and get an official drug and alcohol test within the allotted time frames. An on-site test by an officer will not fulfill the required DOT post-accident drug test as these tests do not follow DOT rules and regulations.


Drug and alcohol testing

Where does a driver get a DOT drug test?

Compliance Navigation Specialists works with Quest Diagnostics and have over 10,000 locations available for testing, whether it is necessary after an accident or for a pre-employment screening.

For post-accident alcohol testing, CNS will coordinate a location for you.

We also offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) for companies that are regulated by Federal and State government.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.