Commercial truck drivers are considered safety-sensitive workers. As a result, drivers must complete drug and alcohol testing through the Department of Transportation. If you have recently failed a DOT drug test or pre-employment test, you may have been told to find a Substance Abuse Professional or complete a SAP program. As a driver, how do you find a SAP program? And, what can you expect from the process? Let’s go over your options so you can potentially get back on the road again.
Are All Truck Drivers Required to Go through Drug and Alcohol Testing?
For the most part, all CDL truck drivers who operate commercial motor vehiclesare required to complete drug and alcohol testing for DOT. This includes full-time, part-time, seasonal and intermittent workers. Anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle on public roads is considered a safety-sensitive worker.
What Happens after a Truck Driver Fails a DOT Drug Test?
If a truck driver fails a DOT drug test, he or she is immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties. The driver must then complete the Return-to-Duty process before returning to work. A failed DOT drug test does not necessarily mark the end of your truck driving career. At American Substance Abuse Professionals, approximately 85% of clients are able to return to work after completing a SAP program. With a nationwide network of over 5,000 SAPs, it is likely we have a DOT qualified SAP near you.
What is the SAP Process?
The Return-to-Duty process is outlined by a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). SAPs must undergo rigorous training and education in order to comply with DOT regulations. To become a SAP, a person must be licensed or certified professionals that have knowledge not only of the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol and controlled substances related disorders, but also of DOT drug and alcohol testing and return-to-duty processes as required by §40.281.
SAPs are trained to evaluate employees after they have failed a DOT drug test. Then they create a SAP program for the employee to complete before returning to work. It’s a SAP’s job to determine what steps a truck driver must take to be reconsidered for a safety-sensitive position.
What to Expect from a SAP Program for Truck Drivers
After a truck driver fails a DOT drug test, he or she must reach out to a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional to start the Return-to-Duty process. The SAP will schedule an in-person consultation to evaluate the driver and his or her circumstances. From there, the SAP will recommend education and treatment for the driver to complete. This may include counseling, drug rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, or other steps.
Once the driver has completed all the requirements for his or her SAP program, the SAP will schedule a follow-up evaluation. If the SAP determines that the driver is ready to return to safety-sensitive work, he or she will write a report to send to the Designated Employee Representative (DER). The driver can then complete a new round of drug testing and apply to work again.
American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. has SAP programs for truck drivers, airline workers, bus drivers, and other safety-sensitive workers. We have over 5,000 DOT-qualified SAPs across the United States. To get matched with a SAP near you, call 888-792-2727 or enroll online.