Drug Testing: Supply Chain Issues Cause Extension To Use Old Chain of Custody Forms

chain of custody forms

On Nov 29, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has granted an extension for using the 2017 Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) for urine specimens until August 31, 2023.

With this extension, either the 2020 Federal CCF or the recently expired 2017 Federal CCF may be used for urine specimens collected for federal workplace drug testing programs and those collected for testing under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

With this change, the use of the 2017 Federal CCF is now permitted (as of November 23, 2021) without a memorandum for the record (MFR).

Why is there an extension for the old CCF forms?

Due to a shortage of raw materials needed for the 2020 Federal CCF, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) requested OMB approval for continued use of the 2017 Federal CCF.

Short supplies include the carbonless paper used for CCF and the resins and plastics used for the labels directly affixed to the form. Items used for specimen collection kits (e.g., cardboard, shipping materials) are also in short supply.

These shortages are attributed to the materials’ use for COVID-related activities. Additionally, it was noted there is only one supplier of the carbonless paper, and the supplier has indicated they will not be increasing its production.

Where do I get the new or old CCF forms? 

Whoever manages your drug testing account, Lab or TPA can assist you so that you receive the new or older DOT CCF forms. Most of our clients already have the new CCF form.

Another option is to work with a third-party administrator (TPA) that can provide you with electronic ordering (eCCF) with no paper drug testing forms.

How do I know if I have the old DOT CCF form or the new DOT CCF form?

The easiest way to know the difference is that Copy 1 Lab copy in Step 2 has information about ORAL FLUID testing. The old form does not mention Oral Fluid.

Is Oral Fluid testing now authorized?

No. DOT has not yet authorized Oral Fluid testing. Do not collect oral fluid using the new DOT CCF forms. 

How can I stay compliant with this change?

Our comprehensive Drug & Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) is available for companies that are regulated by Federal and State government.

When you select our Drug and Alcohol Consortium you receive professional guidance from one of our drug and alcohol experts who completely manage your consortium.

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers. We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

We also offer an online results portal where our consortium clients can order their own chain of custody forms for a drug test, search collection sites near a driver location, see the status of a chain of custody order and the results of the test, and download chain of custody forms for audit or other purposes.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists can assist you with any questions you might have.

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

Do I have to be Employed for the SAP Return-To-Duty Process and Follow-up Testing?

Since the CDL Clearinghouse database went live in Jan. 2020, we can track that around 60,000 drivers each year have received some drug and alcohol violation.

If these drivers want to get back to work, they must complete the return-to-duty process and be a part of a SAP program for follow-up testing.

However, many of these drivers are terminated by their employer. But, if they continue to work through the return-to-duty process, they are eligible to seek employment elsewhere.

Since the CDL Clearinghouse database went live in Jan. 2020, we can track that around 60,000 drivers each year have received some drug and alcohol violation.

This brings up a frequently asked question: If a CDL holder is NOT employed and can’t get employed but wants to continue the follow-up process, can this CDL holder contract a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to act as a DER and send this CDL driver for the appropriate follow-up testing plan?

The short answer: No, unless they become an owner-operator. We will explain why after a quick review of the process.

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

Find a DOT SAP:
SAPlist.com is the #1 source for finding a Substance Abuse Professional

After a driver receives a failed drug test result, they must begin the return-to-duty/SAP process which can be split into two major sections: the time to return-to-duty to drive again, and the time to finish the follow-up testing program for the next 12-60 months.

This process begins with an evaluation by a substance abuse professional (SAP), as required in the federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O. This is often considered the SAP process.

A return-to-duty drug test is a single test required by the DOT after successful completing the SAP process.

Read more for additional details on the SAP process.

Return-to-duty testing can only be done when the driver is CURRENTLY EMPLOYED.

If the driver is not employed, they cannot start their SAP program until they are employed and will be performing a safety-sensitive function. Basically, their progress would be paused until they are employed again.

If the driver is an owner-operator and have a truck, they would use their Consortium/TPA to manage their SAP process and follow-up testing schedule.

But why?

Drug testing while employed in safety-sensitive work is an effective deterrent

Remember, after a driver finished the SAP process and can return to safety-sensitive work, they still must have unscheduled follow-up testing for at least one year.

The need to be employed to have follow-up testing has been a requirement of the regulations for more than 30 years.

There are three main reasons why this is important.

First, the federal agency does not have jurisdiction over the general public, or someone who is not operating under their jurisdiction. If the driver is no longer employed or is not an owner-operator, they are not required to follow federal regulations until they are back in a safety-sensitive function.

Second, a driver cannot know his or her follow-up testing schedule or how long it will be. If they did, this could allow the person in recovery to continuing substance abuse and time to stop so they are clean before the next follow-up test.

If a driver does not know how long the follow-up testing program could continue, that will help the driver remain free of substance abuse long-term.

For example, a SAP could recommend 6 follow-up tests in the first 12 months, and then follow-up tests in the third and fifth year. A driver would not know this, which makes the preventive nature of follow-up testing more effective.

Third, absent safety-sensitive work for an employer, the follow-up testing would not be effective.

While a C/TPA can handle this process for a self-employed owner-operator, the role of the employer and job function is very important to successful implementation and recovery.

The entire point of follow-up testing that produces negative results is to show that the driver can safely operate in DOT-regulated safety-sensitive work.

In other words, the stress of the job could be a reason why some drivers take drugs or drink heavily. If you are unemployed, this trigger is not be tested and might be easier for a driver to get through the follow-up program and later continue substance abuse while driving.

If you are currently unemployed and still must finish the return-to-duty or follow-up testing process, don’t be discouraged. There are many employers who will hire someone with a past refusal or positive test.

For help getting hired, it is often recommended to explain that you will pay for these directly observed tests instead of the potential employer.

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

3 Reasons to Switch your Driver Drug and Alcohol Consortium (C/TPA) Management

3 Reasons to Switch your Driver Drug and Alcohol Consortium (C/TPA) Management

Is your Consortium/TPA (C/TPA) experts in DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations? You can find out by reading their drug testing blog articles, see if they offer drug testing management training, and look at their customer reviews.

Companies today, regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), face strict drug testing regulations and complicated management processes that have been changing rapidly in the last few years.

This includes:

  1. New hire driver file management and past employer drug testing history
  2. Registering and using the CDL Clearinghouse database annually and for newly hired drivers
  3. Loading new reasonable suspicion information to the CDL Clearinghouse database
  4. Managing random selection of drivers for drug testing and meeting quarterly or annual required random testing rates
  5. Fulfilling paperwork requirements and follow-up during the drug testing and lab testing processes
  6. Switching to updated chain of custody forms (CCF) or using electronic CCFs
  7. Storing drug testing results and other recordkeeping requirements
  8. Understanding changes to the required drug test panels on what drugs are being tested
  9. Staying up to date on local, state, and federal discussions around marijuana legalization
  10. Having all supervisors of DOT regulated drivers complete the required 120 minutes of Reasonable-Suspicion Training

These are a lot of requirements that smaller fleets and owner-operators often handle poorly, simply because they would never have enough time to manage everything properly. For this reason, most motor carriers choose to have a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator manage their drug testing program.

According to the FMCSA, “C/TPAs manage all, or part, of an employer’s DOT drug and alcohol testing program, sometimes including maintaining required testing records. They perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and to help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing rules and regulations.”

While there are no DOT qualification requirements (though this may change in the future) for a consortium or third-party administrator, the expectation is that they know:

  • all of the employer requirements and responsibilities under 49 CFR Part 40 and Part 382,
  • requirements of Part 383 (CDL Licensing),
  • requirements of Part 391 (Driver Qualifications), and 
  • requirements of Part 392 (Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles)

If you currently have a consortium handling your drug testing program, do you trust that they are experts in the industry and can handle some or all these processes?

 

How do you find the right Consortium/TPA to help your company stay compliant?

Post-accident drug test

The purpose of a DOT drug testing program is to mitigate road safety risk and limit carriers’ exposure to liability.

If you use a local doctors’ office for driver physicals or urine specimen collection, are they qualified to manage your entire DOT drug testing program?

Choosing the wrong partner will make companies face stress, inefficiencies, extra costs, and time-consuming tasks that could have been prevented in the first place.

 

REASON 1: They are not experts in DOT Regulations

The first place to start in finding the right consortium is making sure they are experts in DOT regulations.

You can analyze their expertise by reading their drug testing blog articles, see if they offer drug testing management training, and look at their customer reviews.

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers. We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

In fact, CNS offers complete DOT compliance from licensing, driver file management, ELDs, audit services, and so much more.

It is our mission to make the roads a safer place for all to travel by improving the safety, protection, and compliance of the industries we serve. Our vision is to stay at the forefront of safety, compliance, and risk in an ever-changing industry.

READ CNS DRUG TESTING ARTICLES

 

REASON 2: They are not organized

The second critical consideration is organization and the simplicity to order, track, and access drug test results.

Carriers that manage their own drug testing programs quickly realize the complicated process of building a list of trustworthy drug testing sites across the nation, especially when a driver suddenly needs a drug test far away from home.

At CNS, our consortium offers an online results portal where our consortium clients can:

  • order their own chain of custody forms for a drug test
  • search collection sites near a driver location
  • see the status of a chain of custody order and the results of the test, and
  • download chain of custody forms for audit or other purposes.

We have over 15,000 collection sites we work with across the nation.

 

REASON 3: They are not customer friendly

Lastly, partner with a consortium that will go above and beyond in customer service.

While we vet our collection sites that we work with across the country, mistakes still happen that delay drug test results and slows the hiring process.

The best consortiums track down chain of custody forms, talk to labs about the status of the testing process and results, and work with collection sites and labs to address chain of custody form mistakes that need to be corrected before continuing.

All these things help speed up the testing process and help you get new drivers on the road faster.

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

Become a CNS Consortium member today

No matter if you are a single driver operation or have 15+ drivers in your fleet, we treat all our clients equally. Save time, money, and reduce stress by switch today.

DOT Consortium: 1-14 Drivers

This membership is a flat rate of $80/driver for enrollment and includes any in-network random drug tests for 1 year.

There is a $75 pre-employment test for any drivers that have been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test.

Store_Consortium 1-14 drivers

1st Carriers between 1-14 drivers, This would be flat rate 80 per driver for enrollment. $75 pre employment test.
  • Holders of a commercial driver’s license who operate "Commercial Motor Vehicles" in interstate or intrastate commerce are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. These drivers should be included in the consortium.
  • Please enter a number from 1 to 14.
  • Pre-employment drug testing is required by DOT to add a driver to the random pool. DOT requires drivers that have been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test, which is actually a pre-safety sensitive test.
  • Payment

  • $0.00
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    Supported Credit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
     

DOT Consortium: 15+ Drivers

This membership is for carriers with 15 drivers or more and can be in their own testing pool.

Enrollment is $10/driver, and $75 per any drug test issued. 

If a driver has been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test, a pre-employment drug test is required.

Store_Consortium 15+ drivers

Carriers with 15+ drivers, has enrollment fee of $10 per driver and $75 for any tests needed.
  • Holders of a commercial driver’s license who operate "Commercial Motor Vehicles" in interstate or intrastate commerce are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. These drivers should be included in the consortium.
  • Please enter a number greater than or equal to 15.
  • Pre-employment drug testing is required by DOT to add a driver to the random pool. DOT requires drivers that have been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test, which is actually a pre-safety sensitive test.
  • Payment

  • $0.00
  • American Express
    Discover
    MasterCard
    Visa
    Supported Credit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
     

States Will Downgrade CDLs Quickly for Recent FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Violations

States Will Downgrade CDLs Quickly for Recent FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Violations

FMCSA Will Notify States of Recent Drug and Alcohol Violations and Require States 60 Days to Revoke CDLs

One of the biggest FMCSA drug testing loopholes is closing as state driver license agencies (SLDAs) will soon be required to initiate the downgrade process for licenses of drivers who have a drug or alcohol violation in the Clearinghouse.

States are already required to check FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse database for violations before issuing new licenses or renewing the licenses and must not “issue, renew, upgrade or transfer a commercial driver’s license, or commercial learner’s permit when a driver has tested positive for drugs or alcohol.”

As of August, 87,438 drivers had at least one drug or alcohol violation, according to the Clearinghouse database.

However, most of these state agencies do not currently receive the CDL driver drug and alcohol violations when they first happen.

“Therefore, these SDLAs are unaware when a commercial motor vehicle operator is subject to the driving prohibition, and the CMV operator continues to hold a valid CDL or CLP, despite the driving prohibition,” said a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in their announcement.

Federal regulators are requiring SDLAs to remove the CDL holders driving privileges within 60 days after being notified of a test failure and prohibiting certain CDL transactions for drivers in the database.

There are two ways the FMCSA will notify state agencies:

  • FMCSA will “push” the information to the SDLA whenever a drug or alcohol program violation is reported to the Clearinghouse for a CLP or CDL holder licensed in that State.
  • FMCSA will also “push” a notification to the SDLA when the driver complies with return-to-duty requirements and is no longer prohibited from operating a CMV.

In addition, “if FMCSA determines that a driver was erroneously identified as prohibited, the Agency will notify the SDLA that the individual is not prohibited from operating a CMV; the SDLA must promptly reinstate the commercial driving privilege to the driver’s license, and expunge the driving record accordingly.”

Future of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and Exemption Requests

The rule will help keep unsafe drivers off the road by increasing compliance “with the CMV driving prohibition”.

Most of the licensing agencies said that even if FMCSA notified the driver of an impending downgrade, they would still be required to notify the driver directly, as required by state law.

The rule is effective Nov. 8, 2021 and states must achieve “substantial compliance” with the applicable requirements of the final rule as soon as practicable, but not later than Nov. 18, 2024.

Need Clearinghouse and Compliance help?

It is important to note that effective January 6, 2023, the FMCSA clearinghouse will become the sole query source for employers to meet the requirement to identify prospective drivers with drug and alcohol violations.

Right now, carriers must request previous employment for drug testing history and query the Clearinghouse database.

Carriers must also perform a clearinghouse query on all drivers annually. If non-compliance surfaces in a compliance review or safety audit, a carrier faces a fine of up to $2,500 per offense.

CNS offers 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.

Lab Delays Increase with Quarterly Testing Spike, Shipping Delays, and CCF Errors

Lab Delays Increase with Quarterly Testing Spike, Shipping Delays, and CCF Errors

Many businesses requiring pre-employment or random drug testing are seeing delays in drug tests across the country.

We understand the frustration to get these employees working as quickly as possible. As we continually reach out to labs to check the status of the specimens for our client’s, below are what we are seeing causing the delays.

Shipping delays in drug screen specimens arriving at the lab

These shipping delays are due to heavy package volume caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 business closures, staffing shortages, weather, and other service disruptions.

There is also an especially large volume of specimens at end of each quarter as companies and consortiums need to meet the minimum DOT testing percentage requirements.

At least 50% of DOT governed employees in a testing pool must be randomly tested for drugs while 10% must be tested for alcohol by the end of the testing year. These minimum testing requirements are managed on a quarterly basis.

If these numbers are not met for any pool, every company that has drivers in that pool is out of compliance with the DOT.

Other shipping delays may occur due to the timing of the courier pickup. For example, a specimen collected at 4:50pm might miss the collection site’s courier pickup and would not get to the lab for an extra day. A specimen collected at 8:30am will ship at the same time as every other specimen collected that day (often around 3-5 pm). Also, a specimen collected on a Friday, might not be tested at the lab until Monday.  

These delays are affecting the entire US, not just isolated areas. However, in some isolated cases, specimens are taking up to 7 days to arrive at the lab. 

Lab turnaround delays

With lab turnarounds being an issue, it is important to note that labs are experiencing the same staffing shortages as other businesses. 

In July, i3screen reported that there are turnaround delays on test results due to staffing shortages at several laboratories, affecting both Quest and LabCorp.

Laboratories receive thousands of specimens each night from couriers and lab technicians, review all chain of custody forms to make sure each chain does not have missing information, and perform a Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) test on samples with trace amounts of drugs during the initial screen.

If there is any trace of drugs in that initial screen’s sample, it goes through a GCMS test once or multiple times (after breaking down the urine sample further) until the test produces an affirmative negative, positive, negative-dilute, or positive-dilute result.

Since a batch of drug test samples gets processed once every 24 hours during the GCMS testing, the staffing shortage is likely to backlog these processes further.

For our clients, as soon as a result is reported to the MRO team, we will get the results out as soon as possible. CNS is not experiencing any delays within the MRO department and results that come in from the lab that can be released to the client are sent out within 2 hours. 

Collection site error delays

Errors made by the employer or collection site may require affidavits to be completed and sent back to the lab for the technicians to verify again before they will even run the test.

With staffing shortages affecting the largest drug screening labs across the country, the delays in turnaround will be most visible with these chain of custody form flaws.

An example of a correctable flaw is when the lab receives an old CCF, missing signatures, etc.

In addition, certain affidavits/items are legally required by the MRO team before results can be released such as: DOT upgrades and downgrades, MRO copies of the CCFs, missing temperatures, etc.

These types of errors cause significant delays. 

Drug and Alcohol Services

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

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

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

Staffing Shortages at Labs Causing Turnaround Delays for Drug Screens

i3screen is reporting that there are turnaround delays on drug test results due to staffing shortages at several laboratories, affecting both Quest and LabCorp.

As the nursing shortage hits the healthcare system, escalating due to COVID burnout, the laboratory community is facing not enough medical technologists to properly staff the nation’s laboratories.

i3screen is reporting that there are turnaround delays on drug test results due to staffing shortages at several laboratories, affecting both Quest and LabCorp.

Laboratories receive thousands of specimens each night from couriers and lab technicians, review all chain of custody forms to make sure each chain does not have missing information, and perform a Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) test on samples with trace amounts of drugs during the initial screen.

With staffing shortages affecting the largest drug screening labs across the country, the delays in turnaround will be most visible if there are chain of custody form flaws or drugs potentially found in the specimen.

This is because when it is determined that a chain has a correctable flaw, the lab sends a memorandum of record (or affidavit) to the collector to be completed and sent back to the lab for the technicians to verify again.

An example of a correctable flaw is when the lab receives an old CCF and requests an affidavit to be fixed. The lab cannot proceed with testing the sample until they receive the completed memorandum, which delays the overall resulting times.

If there is any trace of drugs in that initial screen’s sample, it goes through a GCMS test once or multiple times (after breaking down the urine sample further) until the test produces an affirmative negative, positive, negative-dilute, or positive-dilute result.

Since a batch of drug test samples gets processed once every 24 hours during the GCMS testing, the staffing shortage is likely to backlog these processes further.

For our clients, as soon as a result is reported to the MRO team, we will get the results out as soon as possible.

Drug and Alcohol Services

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

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

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

Future of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and Exemption Requests

fmcsa cdl clearinghouse annual queries

The CDL Clearinghouse program took effect on January 6, 2020 stating that all trucking companies with an operating authority—including owner-operators—are required to register in the clearinghouse and conduct a yearly query on each driver and store their violation history.

According to the April 2021 CDL Clearinghouse report, drug and alcohol violations are pacing around 60,000 each year, consistent with 2020 Clearinghouse data of 56,000 violations.

With over 5.1 million drivers under the authority of FMCSA, the annual positive rate would be 1.12%, likely delaying the random drug testing rate drop from 50% to 25% until 2025 or later.

With the Biden administration still in their first year, DOT priorities are being outlined and changes to the CDL Clearinghouse are likely coming.

But what changes are on the horizon? 

 

Biden nominates a data-centric regulator to head FMCSA

Meera Joshi, a New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services, has been serving as deputy and acting FMCSA administrator since January.

She has been nominated to lead the FMCSA.

If she is confirmed, a full plate of issues await her, including the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program, proposals to lower the legal age for commercial truck drivers, autonomous vehicles, and the impact of the new drug and alcohol test clearinghouse.

Most notable is a proposed rule that would revise the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. According to the abstract listed with the rule, the proposal would “streamline and improve error-correction procedures, queries and consent requirements.” As of right now, the notice of proposed rulemaking is expected in February 2022.

 

FMCSA Clearinghouse Exemptions

Other likely changes coming to the drug and alcohol Clearinghouse are exemption requests.

Last year, the Motion Picture Compliance Solutions (MPCS) exemption to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule has been granted after stating that it did not fit their industry’s model.

According to the FMCSA, MPCS specifically requested “an exemption from the requirement that an employer must not employ a driver who is subject to drug and alcohol testing to perform safety-sensitive functions prior to conducting a full query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.” Instead, the MPCS would conduct a limited query of the Clearinghouse before an employer can hire a driver for a project.

In March, the transportation company FirstGroup requested a similar exemption from FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse pre-employment full query because it is costing them “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The company applied for the exemption on behalf of three of its subsidiaries, First Student, First Transit, and First Mile Square and is the largest provider of home-to-school transportation in North America with a fleet of 43,000 yellow school buses.

FirstGroup says the full query requirement is “hindering its ability to hire at the speed and level needed to keep pace with the demands of the contracted school and transit transportation industry.” The company added that the delays and administrative costs stemming from full query has resulted in “hundreds of thousands of dollars of increased costs.”

Like the MPCS exemption, First Group is requesting FMCSA to allow it to conduct a limited pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse. If the limited query indicated that information about the driver existed in the Clearinghouse, the company would then conduct a full query with the consent of the driver. As part of the exemption request, FirstGroup also would conduct a second limited query within 30 to 55 days of the initial limited query and conduct multiple limited queries on all its’ CDL drivers each year.

As one commenter on the request noted, if approved, this would “open the flood gate that will surely result in additional carriers applying for the same exception.”

Regardless of the outcome to this exemption request, more exemption requests are likely to come as hiring pressure builds and inflated costs continue to burden larger carriers.

Whether or not the exemptions are approved is yet to be seen and will depend highly on the situation of the particular carrier requesting the exemption.

 

Need Clearinghouse and Compliance help?

It is important to note that effective January 6, 2023, the FMCSA clearinghouse will become the sole query source for employers to meet the requirement to identify prospective drivers with drug and alcohol violations.

Right now, carriers must request previous employment for drug testing history and query the Clearinghouse database.

Carriers must also perform a clearinghouse query on all drivers annually. If non-compliance surfaces in a compliance review or safety audit, a carrier faces a fine of up to $2,500 per offense.

CNS offers 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.

New DOT Drug Testing CCF Form Required August 30, 2021 Or Cause Delays

New 2021 DOT CCF form

After August 30, 2021, using the old DOT CCF form will cause affidavits and result in delays. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the updated and revised Federal Custody and Control (CCF) for DOT drug testing is available now and must be used by August 30, 2021. This is a required component of the DOT drug testing program.

If an old Federal CCF form is used after August 30, 2021 a memorandum for record (MFR), or an affidavit will be required by laboratories before DOT urine specimens are tested, which will ultimately cause delays.

Laboratories receive thousands of specimens each night and lab technicians review all chain of custody forms to make sure each chain does not have missing information. When it is determined that a chain is not complete, the lab then determines whether the flaw is correctable or fatal.

If one of the seven fatal flaws are committed, the test is canceled and reported to the MRO as a fatal flaw.

One example of a fatal flaw is when the collector does not print their name and sign the chain.

In the case of a correctable flaw, the lab sends a memorandum of record (or affidavit) to the collector to be completed and sent back to the lab.

An example of a correctable flaw is when the lab receives an old CCF and requests an affidavit to be fixed. The lab cannot proceed with testing the sample until they receive the completed memorandum, which delays the overall resulting times.

Some common questions surrounding the New CCF Form

Who do these form changes affect?

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

How do I know if I have the old DOT CCF form or the new DOT CCF form? 

The easiest way to know the difference is that Copy 1 Lab copy in Step 2 has information about ORAL FLUID testing.  The old form does not mention Oral Fluid.

Is Oral Fluid testing now authorized? 

No. DOT has not yet authorized Oral Fluid testing, do not collect oral fluid using these new DOT CCF forms. 

What should I do with the old CCF forms? 

As soon as you have the new DOT CCF’s, throw away the old DOT CCF’s, this is critical.

Where can I find official information on this? 

Go to: https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/workplace/2020-fed-ccf-proof.pdf

Where do I get the new CCF forms? 

Whoever manages your drug testing account, Lab or TPA can assist you so that you receive the new DOT CCF form before August 30, 2021.  Many labs are saying to order the new forms in July.

Another option is to work with a third-party administrator (TPA) that can provide you with electronic ordering (eCCF) with no paper drug testing forms.


How can I stay compliant with this change?

Our Compliance Specialists can assist you with any questions you might have.

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

 

When to Use the Most Effective Methods of Drug Testing in Company Policies

DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Of the three different types of drug testing – urine, oral saliva, and hair testing – which one is most effective to determine drug use?

Urine has been the “gold standard” as the most common method for drug testing across the industry, even as oral (saliva) and hair testing techniques have improved reliability over last few decades.

As we wait for Health and Human Services (HHS) to release hair testing guidelines and the Department of Transportation to adopt those guidelines for safety sensitive positions across Aviation, Commercial Motor Carriers (FMCSA), Maritime, Pipeline, Railroad, and Transit, the discussion of what type of drug testing methods are most effective is now heating up.

Unfortunately, there are many who are misguided on the strategy of when to use each drug testing method as there are pros and cons to each method and the reasons for testing.

So, let us break this down for you.

 

What is the most effective method for drug testing?

The problem with this question is companies are considering dropping urine for oral or hair testing for every type of reason an employee would be tested. This is misguided.

It is important to note that there are various restrictive state drug testing regulations that may prevent companies from drug testing, who they can or cannot drug test and why. 

Regardless, companies need to remember the various reasons they are testing employees. These are:

  • Pre-employment
  • Reasonable Suspicion
  • Post-accident
  • Random
  • Follow-Up or Return-to-Duty

Each reason for testing has their own goals for keeping employees and assets safe.

For example, the goal of pre-employment testing is making sure your staff, especially in safety-sensitive positions, do not have a history of drug abuse. In this situation, it would be ideal to use a drug testing method that provides a longer drug use history. Conversely, for reasonable suspicion testing, a shorter drug detection window would be more effective as it can accurately find recent drug use.

Understanding which method for testing has a shorter detection window would help companies decide if that method is best for this reason.

 

Breaking down collection testing methods

To help make choices on which method of testing is best for your company and reason for testing, we need to break down and compare urine, hair, and oral saliva testing into:

  • Detection Window
  • Collection Time
  • Turnaround Time
  • Ideal Reason for Testing

 

Urine TestingOral (Saliva) TestingHair Testing
RegulatedHHS + DOTPending HHS + DOTPending HHS + DOT
Detection Window2 – 7 days8 – 48 hours, short detection window7 – 90 days, long detection window
Collection Time10+ min depending on if donor did not provide enough sample15 minutes, non-invasive5 minutes, less invasive
Turnaround Time24-48 hours24-72 hours24-72 hours
Ideal Reason for TestingSuitable for all testing reasonsReasonable Suspicion & post-accident testing programPost-accident, reasonable suspicion, pre-employment, and random testing program

 

Now that we understand the pros and cons to each method of drug testing, let us dive into which method is most effective for the reasons a company would drug test.

Urine testing: As the most common testing method, urine testing can detect recent use, between one to three days and is suitable for all testing reasons and types of drugs being tested.

Oral saliva testing: Mouth swab testing is the least invasive method of testing and can detect recent drug use within the first few hours to 48 hours. This makes oral testing the best testing method for both reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing.  

Hair testing: Using hair samples from the body is the only method of drug testing that can detect drugs and alcohol in the system from a week to 90+ days, unlike urine testing, which only detects drugs and alcohol up to 7 days. In recent statistics from Quest, hair testing provides nearly twice the number of positives drug tests than urine testing due to its longer detection time-frame and is the best option for a pre-employment or random testing program.

When looking at updating your company drug testing policies, we believe a mix in methods is the most beneficial in your drug testing programs. Again, it is important to note that there are various restrictive state drug testing regulations that may prevent companies from drug testing, who they can or cannot test and why. 

 

Drug and Alcohol Services

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

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

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


Lessons Learned One Year After Launch of Drug and Alcohol CDL Clearinghouse

fmcsa cdl clearinghouse annual queries

Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) increased its random drug testing rate of CDL drivers  from 25% to 50%, effective January 1, 2020.

For the random drug testing rate to fall back to 25%, the annual random positive rate must be below 1% for three consecutive years from data voluntarily submitted by carriers.

According to the recent drug and alcohol CDL Clearinghouse report, 56,158 drug and alcohol violations were recorded last year in a database intended to track truck drivers’ compliance history and prevent them from job-hopping in the event of a failed drug test.

With over 5.1 million drivers under the authority of FMCSA, the annual positive rate with this data would be around 1.1% resulting in an unlikely random drug testing rate drop until 2024 or later.

CDL Clearinghouse 2020 Stats

The CDL Clearinghouse program took effect on January 6, 2020 where all trucking companies with operating authority—including owner-operators—are required to register in the clearinghouse and conduct a yearly query on each driver.

During 2020, there were 5% more drug and alcohol violations than what FMCSA estimated when the Clearinghouse was being launched and over 1.4 million pre-employment queries conducted. Besides pre-employment, employers are required to make annual checks on the database to ensure none of their employees have any drug violations.

According to the report, the top number of drug test failures were for marijuana (29,500) and cocaine use (7,940). There were also 1,120 tests described as reasonable suspicion of attempts to cheat on a drug test.

Additionally, over 45,000 drivers (0.86% of the workforce) are still unable to drive while 35,000 drivers have not even begun the return-to-work substance abuse counseling process.

Learn more about the DOT SAP and Return-to-Duty Process

According to Duane DeBruyne, an FMCSA spokesman, “The good news is that the system is working in capturing violations by drivers and allowing employers and enforcement personnel to verify a driver’s status prior to permitting him/her to drive. Any violation reported is a bad thing; blocking prohibited drivers from endangering themselves and the lives of the motoring public is a good thing.”

The Future of the CDL Clearinghouse

While carriers and state driver licensing agencies frequently use the Clearinghouse database, law enforcement officials are also using the database to check a driver’s drug and alcohol violations.

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, as of 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. These drivers will not be allowed to leave the scales driving a CMV, and employers will have to arrange for another driver to pick up the load.”

For drivers that work for multiple companies, one of their companies may catch the drug testing violation and prevent the driver from operating with them until the SAP process is completed.

However, the other companies the driver works for do not know of the recent violation and the driver can illegally drive until they are caught after a detailed audit or an annual query is performed.

According to CVSA’s new inspection guidance, “roadside personnel must verify a driver’s status based on the clearinghouse data when stopping drivers with a CDL or CLP for a driver/vehicle examination or roadside inspection.”

Also, carriers are required to perform a clearinghouse query on all drivers annually or face a fine of up to $2,500 per offense if non-compliance surfaces in a compliance review or safety audit.

Most carriers who have not run their annual driver queries have likely passed this annual deadline for the drivers they loaded into the system last year. 

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