DOT Guidance on Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Testing
Attention TOI Drug & Alcohol Program Participants
- Did you know that the Drug & Alcohol Policy should be reviewed annually? It is a good idea to go over the policy with your drivers annually.
- It is imperative that when a new Highway Commissioner takes over, that he reviews the Drug & Alcohol Policy and go over it with the drivers so they will know how he/she stands on the discipline of a positive drug or alcohol test. It is advised to have each driver fill out an Attachment G form even if the driver has in the past. It will be dated and give the Highway Commissioner the necessary paperwork should there be a conflict.
- The Designated Employer Representative (DER) is responsible in ensuring that the Random Drug Test is completed during the month the driver was selected.
Have you signed up for the FMCSA Clearinghouse? The FMSCA requires that full queries be performed on all new drivers holding a CDL hired since January 6, 2020. In addition, limited queries are to be performed on all existing CDL drivers by January 5, 2021. Mid-West Truckers Association can be your third-party administrator and perform these required full and limited queries for you. Questions regarding the FMCSA Clearinghouse should be directed to Mid-West Truckers, contact them at (217) 525-0310.
Drug and Alcohol Program Process and Fees Through The Township Officials of Illinois/Midwest Truckers
When a township joins or a new driver is added, the driver must have a CDL license. This slot fee covers any random tests administered for the calendar year (January 1 through December 31) whether the driver is selected once or several times. This slot fee is transferable should a driver leave and another driver be hired during that current calendar year. (This fee is renewable each year and you are billed sometime in late October or November of the prior year.) However, all new drivers are subject to a pre-drug test unless an Attachment B form is filled out by the previous employer confirming the driver:
- Is currently enrolled in another drug and alcohol testing program with another company that conforms with CDL driver federal regulation or;
- Has been in a drug and alcohol testing program 30 days prior to coming into our program that conforms to CDL driver federal regulation.
New drivers taking a pre-drug test must fill out the Attachment A form. The fee for a pre-drug test never has to be repeated unless that driver is taken out of the program and is out for over 30 days. The purpose of the pre-drug test is to make sure that the drivers are clear before entering the program.
Once the drivers are enrolled and the pre-drug test is done, the cost each year will be only the slot fee per driver. The only time the program will cost additional is:
- Tester has to wait or driver cannot produce specimen. (Shy Bladder Fee)
- Driver does not show for scheduled test.
- A positive test is received and the driver remains in the program. After rehabilitation, he is required to have additional testing (follow up tests) and there is a charge for each test. New policy mandates that at least 6 follow up tests be done within a year.
- A reasonable cause test is requested or a post accident test is needed.
You ask how the process works and the concerns that some are tested more than once and others not at all. The guidelines for the Random Drug and Alcohol Program are governed by a Federal Mandate and DOT Regulations. Since it is a Federal Mandate and not state controlled, trying to change the process would be very difficult. Although the process does not allow for all drivers to be guaranteed a test, there are provisions that a person be tested should there be some suspicion in his/her actions. All supervisors are required to watch the Supervisory Training video which shows signs that may require such a test. Also, everyone has the same chance of being selected. All names are put in the pool for possible selection. If a driver is tested one month, he is not held out of the draw the next month. His chances the next month is just the same, thus a “random” testing procedure.
The contact/supervisor is determined by the Highway Commissioner or in case of counties by the County Engineer.
The tester comes to the facility to do the test unless you would prefer to use a facility that meets the requirements.
Drug & Alcohol Program Bits & Pieces for 2022
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration mandated on Jan. 1, 1996, requiring holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to undergo random drug and alcohol testing if he/she is operating a vehicle over 26,000 pounds, or a vehicle 26,001 or more pounds inclusive of a towed unit weighing 10,000 pounds. This is required whether the employee if full time or part time. Township employees operating off-road construction equipment on roads to remove snow and/or leaves are exempt from having a CDL and therefore, are exempt from the drug and alcohol program. This includes but is not limited to, trenches, rollers, pavers, cranes, graders, tractors, and bulldozers. Non-CDL employees cannot be enrolled in the drug and alcohol program.
If a township has drivers that are operating a vehicle over 26,000 pounds and does not belong to a testing program, the township is subject to up to a $10,000 fine. A drug and alcohol program protects the township. Members pay an annual slot fee of $95 per driver and a $100 fee for pre-employment testing required on enrollment unless the driver is currently in a program or has been in a certified program within 30 days of entering the new program. The annual $95 slot fee is transferable; if a driver is removed and replaced by another driver, the new driver moves into the slot. The new driver would be required to take the pre-employment drug test unless he/she meets the exemption criteria.
It is recommended to have a file on each driver you have in the program, containing his/her policy, notices, and results. In the event of an accident or audit, highway commissioners can have the information readily available. Officials should remember that drug and alcohol program files are township/road district property.
Highway Commissioners, especially newly elected make sure you have the drug policy, and it is updated as needed. It is suggested that when a new Highway Commissioner takes office the drug policy is updated including changing the contact person (if needed) on the front of the policy and making sure the discipline option is what you want to use. Have your drivers re-read the policy and fill out an Attachment G verifying that they understand what you as the new Commissioner has selected for the discipline option in the event of a positive test. This is for your benefit!
How the Drug & Alcohol Program works ...
Every month notices, through random selection, are sent to TOI members. Notices are sent to the members’ contact person when a driver has been selected, from there a Mid-West Truckers test collector contacts the township’s contact person to arrange a time for testing. If you haven’t heard from the test collector by the 10th of the month, please contact the collector to schedule the test. Ensuring that random testing is completed is the responsibility of the township’s DER (Designated Employer Representative)/contact person. The person selected is not to be notified about a test until it is time for the test to be performed. This may cause a problem when the contact person is the driver to be tested. The tester will come to the township site to perform the test unless the township chooses to use a walk-in facility. After a specimen is tested and verified by the medical review officer, a test result is sent to the contact person. The contact person should attach it to the notice and put in the driver’s file. Negative test results and CCFs should be kept for 1 year and positive test results and CCFs should be kept for 5 years per the federal regulation, but township records are to be kept for 7 years and cannot be disposed of unless under the supervision of the Secretary of State’s Archive Division.
Random Testing for Seasonal Drivers
If a driver is “seasonal” and not working at all that month he/she is chosen, is off on medical leave, is on active military duty, is off on workman’s comp or laid off, then you must contact Pam at TOI and the driver will not have to be tested for that month. Be sure to contact TOI immediately so the test can be cancelled, and you will be instructed what to do.
Depending upon the disciplinary action selected by the Contact Person (Highway Commissioner) in their drug and alcohol policy, the driver may, upon a return of a positive test; be immediately terminated or given another chance before termination. If a driver is given another chance before termination, he/she would be immediately removed from the DOT drug and alcohol testing program and any safety-sensitive work and required to seek professional counseling (a list of approved providers will be provided). Once the substance abuse professional determines the driver is ready to return to work, he would send a letter stating such to the contact person along with a required number of “follow-up” tests that is required to be taken. The driver will be required to take and pass a “return to duty test” before he can return to work in a safety-sensitive position. He will then be subject to regular random testing plus the “follow-up” testing. DOT-covered employees undergoing a return-to-duty or follow-up test must have the test be directly observed by a person same gender collector/observer. The collector shall explain to the driver the reason for the direct observation test, except when the employer is required to do so. The same gender collector or observer must request the driver to raise his or her shirt, blouse, or dress/ skirt, as appropriate, above the waist; and lower his/her clothing and underpants to show the collector or observer, by turning around, that the driver does not have a prosthetic device. After the collector or observer has determined the driver does not have such a device, the driver may be permitted to return the clothing to its proper position for the observed urination. The collector or observer must watch the urine go from the driver’s body into the collection container. An observer will continue to watch the specimen until it is given to the collector. Return to duty and follow up testing is not part of the fee paid to be in the program. These tests will be an additional charge to be paid by the township or the driver depending on what has been adopted in their policy.
It is mandatory that highway commissioners that have employees who drive trucks that weigh 26,001 lbs. or more, go through a reasonable suspicion (RS) supervisor training that includes 1 hour on alcohol misuse and 1 hour on controlled substances use. They can view a DVD, listen on a webinar, or go to a classroom training if it covers the 2 hours as stated above. EXCEPTION: If the highway commissioner is the boss and the only driver, he or she does NOT have to go through the RS training.
An employee of a township or road district with a population of less than 3,000 operating a vehicle within the boundaries of the township or road district for the purpose of removing snow or ice from a roadway by plowing, sanding, or salting may hire a driver who is not covered in the program to help with a particular snow emergency because the regular employee who is covered under the program is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional assistance due to the snow emergency. This does not mean that every time there is a snow you may use this additional person. If you use this driver as an on-call when needed basis, they should be enrolled in the program even though they are not full-time employees. If they are called for a random test and they are not working that month, they may be excused from being tested that month. However, if they work just one hour/day of that month, they must be tested if called to do so. See page 142 and/or page 313 of the Laws and Duties Handbook (Revised 2019).
Share of vehicles and drivers
Townships can share vehicles/drivers if each township has a FMCSA drug & alcohol testing program. The drivers only need to be in the random pool for the township they are employed by. However, if a driver is a part-time employee of Township A and a part-time employee of Township B, then the driver must be in the random pool for both townships.
Post-Accident Testing Notice
IF your township is in the TOI/Midwest Truckers Random Drug & Alcohol Program and the township is involved in an accident, the township driver will be required to take a post-accident drug and alcohol test if one of the following occurs:
- Township driver ticketed, and a vehicle MUST be towed
- Township driver ticketed, and someone is taken away by ambulance
Midwest Truckers has a 24-hour answering service. It is imperative that you call immediately as testing must be done within a limited amount of time. CALL 217.525.0310.
Effective January 6, 2020 the Federal Government mandated that CDL drivers in a drug and alcohol program must be registered in the FMCSA Clearinghouse. The FMCSA requires that full queries be run on new employees and a limited query on all CDL holders once a year. All Employers with drivers in a drug and alcohol testing program should enter the driver’s information into the database and perform a query on any existing drug and/or alcohol violations that the driver may have that the township may not be aware of. Mid-West Truckers will be taking care of all aspects of the Clearinghouse. Questions should be directed to them. They can be reached at 217-525-0310.
Registering for the Clearinghouse
To enroll in the program, you must go to the Clearinghouse website and register the township. When you register the township, you will need to purchase queries with a debit/credit card, Amazon Pay, PayPal, or checking or savings account. The charge for each query is $1.25 each. You will want to purchase more queries than you have drivers in the case that you have a change in drivers, and you might want to order enough queries to last more than one year. The queries have no expiration date. You may also select a 3rd party administrator (TPA) to perform your queries. Mid-West Truckers will be doing queries for our members if you so choose. They will bill the township $10 per query. (This statement will come directly from Mid-West Truckers.) If you choose to have Mid-West Truckers do your queries, you will want to pick the following C/TPA, “Mid-West Truckers Association, Inc. (OFFICIAL)”. You will also want to check the three boxes following that to give them permission to perform and report the queries and enter any violations that may occur. Once you have done that, the drivers or you will need to go in and register themselves/each driver.