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.
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?
- Schedule an on-site testing appointment for your company.
- We send appointment confirmation and a letter to all of your employees letting them know what to bring to the exam (upon request).
- Our professional staff will arrive 10 minutes early to set up.
- Our certified staff will provide collection services in an efficient manner.
- CNS will send samples to the certified lab. (24-48 turnaround time for DOT 5 Panel)
- Results upload by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to your portal.
COVID-19 Pre-Employment Testing
As more businesses are opening back up from the COVID-19 health emergency, the FMCSA earlier this month extended a waiver for pre-employment testing that would reduce drug-testing costs as they rehire drivers.
Current regulations require that new-hire drivers must pass a pre-employment drug and alcohol test for controlled substances before they can perform safety-sensitive functions. These pre-employment drug tests are waived if the new-hire driver was part of a drug testing program within the previous 30 days and was either tested for controlled substances within the past six months or participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months.
This waiver has been extended from 30 days to 90 days and only valid when hiring drivers on or before September 30, 2020. This is basically extending the length of time a driver can be out of a random testing pool from 30 days to 90 days and be exempt from pre-employment testing if all criteria are met as stated in 382.301(b).
This is in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency where many employers have laid off, furloughed, or temporarily removed employees from safety-sensitive functions and removed from the random pool for controlled substances and alcohol testing for a period greater than 30 days.
According to the FMCSA, “As employers begin to recall drivers who were furloughed, laid off, or otherwise not working for the company for more than 30 days, the cost and logistical barriers of testing a large influx of drivers in a short timeframe are significant, at a time when the commercial trucking and motor coach industry is facing unprecedented economic challenges. This problem is further compounded by the reduced availability of controlled substance testing resources due to continued facility closures or other testing impediments caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
CNS Collection Sites And Network Are Open For Drug Testing, Call 888.260.9448 to Schedule A Test Today
Employers must verify that the driver participated in the controlled substances testing specified and had no recorded violations of another DOT agency’s controlled substances use regulations within the previous 6 months. This requires a CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse detailed query.
Also, each employer must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an involving any driver operating under the terms of this waiver. For more information on accident reporting during the waiver, go to the FMCSA press release.
DOT Compliance Services
Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process
Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.
Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.