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
     

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.

 

Why Reasonable Suspicion Training For Managers Is So Important

Why Reasonable Suspicion Training For Managers Is So Important

One of the most difficult things about reasonable suspicion testing for supervisors is the fear of being wrong when “accusing” an employee of using drugs or alcohol, but the profound impact on safety, well-being and productivity may outweigh those fears.

With the continued rise of the opioid epidemic amplified with the pandemic, marijuana legalization across the nation, and changes to DOT testing regulations, managers need to refresh themselves on the requirements and the importance of reasonable suspicion to keep the workplace safe.

Supervisors often fear being sued or having a labor grievance action brought against them because of their decision to conduct a reasonable suspicion test.

These fears can be minimized if supervisors remember that requiring an employee to submit to a reasonable suspicion test is not an accusation of drug or alcohol use, nor is it an attempt to diagnose substance abuse or addiction. Rather, it is a method for “ruling out” a possible cause or explanation for employee behavior or appearance that is cause for concern.

Federal (DOT) Regulations Around Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable Suspicion Training is for supervisors and managers of any employee covered by company’s drug and alcohol policy, human resource managers or DERs, upper management, or anyone else responsible for safety within the company.

For the FMCSA, PHMSA, FTA:

  • They must complete at least 2 hours of supervisor training—one hour on signs and symptoms associated with drug use and one hour on signs and symptom associated with alcohol misuse.
  • For owner operators, if the wife is doing your books and manages while you are on the road, she should need this training. If the husband and wife both drive, they would both need the training as they are supervising while the other drives.

Even if the reasonable suspicion test cannot be conducted, the employer is still required to remove any employee from safety-sensitive duties whose behavior or appearance is indicative of being under the influence of or impaired by alcohol or drugs.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion is described as a set of circumstances that give you reason to conduct a “fitness for duty” assessment of an employee based on objective observations.

The suspicion is based on observations of the individual employee. It is not a generalized belief or “gut feeling” about a group or category of employees based on such characteristics as dress, ethnicity, age, or occupation. A reasonable suspicion is more than a hunch; it is a rational conclusion drawn from objective observations of the individual over a period of time.

Many people can confuse reasonable suspicion and probable cause, and there is a difference between the two. Probable cause generally implies that there is evidence to support a probable conclusion—e.g., drug or alcohol use. Reasonable suspicion leaves room for an action to “rule out” or eliminate a particular cause for the observed phenomenon. In other words, the reasonable suspicion test is used as much to determine that alcohol or drugs are not the cause of the observed behavior or appearance, as it is to prove that alcohol or drugs is the causative agent.

The supervisor’s role is to:

  • identify the specific observations of employee behavior or appearance that justify a reasonable suspicion test,
  • confront the employee concerning the requirement to undergo reasonable suspicion testing, and
  • fully explain the consequences of the employee’s refusal to comply.

Reasonable suspicion testing is used to determine that alcohol or drugs are not the cause of the observed behavior or appearance. Drug testing is a mechanism to determine if the employee has used a prohibited drug; regardless of when, or what amount.

The overall goal of Reasonable Suspicion Training is to protect public and workplace safety by ensuring the removal of employees from safety sensitive duties when their behavior and appearance indicate possible illegal drug use or alcohol misuse.

Basically, it gives a company eyes and ears throughout the workforce, with supervisors acting as the frontline defense for workplace safety.

The supervisor’s responsibility is to be alert to changes in the employee’s behavior and/or appearance, not to a specific set of symptoms associated with each drug or drug class.

Deciding that a reasonable suspicion test is necessary involves the supervisor’s specific interaction with the employee and should always be made based on current information. In the absence of current signs and symptoms, a reasonable suspicion drug test would generally not be merited on a past incident.

DOT Training and Safety Meetings

To teach you what the regulations say about how to handle reasonable suspicion, the process and documentation required, and tips to make sure you stay in compliance with those rules, our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person, or online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company, including Reasonable Suspicion Training for managers.

Fleet management and driver training education is a very valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet and compliant safety practices.

Our trainers can tailor training to your specific operation.


Interested in Training?


DOT Virtual SAP Assessments and Delayed Collector Requalification through June 2021

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

DOT Virtual SAP Assessment

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents (collectors, MROs, SAPs). 

On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.  

As of December 09, 2020, this statement is now effective through June 30, 2021.

Virtual SAP Assessments and Evaluations Allowed During Pandemic

Under federal regulations, the SAP must conduct a face-to-face, or in-person, assessment and evaluation of an employee who has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations. 

ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the pandemic may not be possible for certain individuals.

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

ODAPC recommends that, when a SAP conducts assessments and evaluations remotely, the format of the assessment be documented in the final report for reference.

ODAPC realizes that performing evaluations remotely may not provide as much information to the SAP as a face-to-face evaluation would, but believes remote evaluations are preferable to not performing the evaluations at all. 

SAPs who choose to conduct initial assessments and evaluations and follow up evaluations remotely should consider the following parameters:

  • The technology used should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
  • You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
  • You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.

Delayed Collector and Other Service Agents Requalification Is Allowed

Under federal regulations, collectors, MROs, STT/BATs, and SAPs are required to maintain their DOT required qualifications by completing refresher training courses to continue acting as service agents in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. 

  • Collectors and STT/BATs must complete refresher training every five years
  • MROs must complete requalification training every five years, and
  • SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years

DOT realizes that during the pandemic, these service agents may find it difficult to find the necessary resources (e.g., exam location or personnel to conduct mock collections, etc.) to meet their re-qualification requirements.

If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, DOT will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent. 

DOT will consider these service agents qualified per Part 40 to continue providing the Part 40 required services while this policy is in effect.

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


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.


Interested in Training?

COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Positive Drug Tests and On-Site Testing


Since the emergence of COVID-19, the importance of drug and alcohol testing and driver physicals have not changed, especially considering positive drug testing rates have increased in April and May since 2019.

According to Clinical Reference Laboratories (CRL), positive drug test rates are up by more than 16% in April and 24.1% in May year-over-year. The culprit during the pandemic is marijuana, which increased 21% in April and 37.8% in May compared to the previous year. 

Similarly, DISA’s random positive drug testing rates have more than doubled, up from 0.18% in April 2019 to 0.37% in May 2020.

Employers, more now than ever, are taking employee health more seriously and attempting to make the required drug tests and driver physicals more convenient as they do not want to put workers at risk if health clinics are being used to test people who have COVID-19 symptoms.

With the hyper-focus of clean and safe facilities, minimizing hospital sites, and navigating collection sites or medical offices closing, many fleets are turning to on-site mobile drug testing.

This allows fleets to manage when drivers can be drug tested or receive required physical exams, trust their COVID health protocols, and not worry about busy testing and physical exam sites.

Trusted mobile collection sites are maintaining effective drug-testing procedures during the pandemic while increasing their on-site safety guidelines, which includes:

  • Stopping any testing if an illness is evident and advising the customer
  • Staff wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment during test sessions
  • Cleaning instruments and testing area after every test
  • Maintaining a minimum safe distance wherever practical, and
  • Treating the Donor with courtesy and respect at all times

On-site testing not only  employee safety during the pandemic, recent studies have shown that on-site and mobile collection testing has a higher rate of positives than clinic based testing.

This is most likely due to the element of surprise, where drivers may normally be able to purchase products in hopes of cheating their drug test or less opportunities for subversion of the testing process.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Can drivers refuse a drug test claiming COVID-19 pandemic concerns?

If your employees express concern about reporting for a drug test, on-site testing can assure them that employer guidelines are in place to protect them during drug testing and physical procedures.

It is important to note, if an employee refuses a drug test for any reason (including COVID-19 concerns), it is reported as a refusal to test.

This means collectors document the refusal and follow the company’s guidelines as outlined in its refusal to test policy.

If the company is regulated by the DOT, refusals are reported to the MRO (Medical Review Officer), reviewed, and a decision is made on whether or not it is a refusal to test based on the circumstances.

No matter the outcome, the driver will not be allowed to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as driving, during this process.


Mobile Drug and Alcohol Services

Want to save time and money?

If your company is committed to creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace with little to no interruptions in your operations, on-site collection may be the right option for you.

Our medical professionals are available to go on-site and perform drug and alcohol tests.

On-site drug and alcohol testing can be scheduled at your place of business or any other location of your choosing.

We are extremely flexible and can accommodate the busiest of schedules and various types of operations.

Our Certified DOT Examiners, Certified Collectors and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT) are readily available to serve you.

How does Mobile Drug Testing work?

  1. Schedule an on-site testing appointment for your company.
  2. We send appointment confirmation and a letter to all of your employees letting them know what to bring to the exam (upon request).
  3. Our professional staff will arrive 10 minutes early to set up.
  4. Our certified staff will provide collection services in an efficient manner.
  5. CNS will send samples to the certified lab. (24-48 turnaround time for DOT 5 Panel)
  6. Results upload by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to your portal.

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.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

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.