Believe it or not, this is the most common for new carriers and those who are trying to slide under the radar.
The thing is that when you operate a CMV there is no real way to slide under the radar for very long.
You drive the biggest trucks on the road, and that draws attention.
Also most companies like getting credit for those big trucks so they put their names on the side of them (PS that’s required)
When it comes to drug testing there is no way to go back and make it happen or change when it was first done.
So here’s the scoop on what you need for drug testing, then we can go into the risk of not having it.
You have to have results back from the initial drug test before you can let a CDL driver operate a CDL vehicle.
You have to have proof that they are enrolled in a random program.
You have to have a drug policy that every CDL driver has access to and signs off on that they have read it and agree to follow it.
That is pretty much it.
Here is my recommendation to keep your nose clean on this one.
As soon as your driver gets the CDL Permit, do the drug test. And don’t let them drive until the results are back.
When you hire a CDL driver, send them in for a drug test a week before you hire them. That way you have clean results back before they are even scheduled to start working for you.
Now that the housekeeping is out of the road let’s get down to the real risk.
We will start with the financial risk if you get audited.
Like anything Drug & Alcohol related there is a 0 tolerance policy in the world DOT.
They look at your D&A system with pretty much every audit. Unless you get audited more than once a year.
I worked with one company that allowed a driver with a permit to operate a CMV without having a drug test done.
When they got audited it cost them $5800 for that one occurrence.
And that was an easy fine.
Auditors have the ability to fine you up to $12K per occurrence. And the fines start at around $2K
So the minimum fine you will get for not having an initial drug test on file is going to be $2,000.
Let’s do some quick math.
You have hired 10 drivers in the past 3 years but only 2 still work for you. You chose not to do any drug testing for any of them.
You would be looking at a minimum of $20K and a maximum of over $120K in fines.
Most businesses with 3 employees do not have $120 laying around in the bank to pay the government.
The entire drug testing program would have cost you about $500 a year including the drug tests for all of those drivers.
Now let’s pivot and look at the financial risk in the event you get involved in a lawsuit from an accident and have the initial negative drug test on file.
I’ll bet you know what I’m going to say.
That’s right, open up your wallet and give them everything because you just lost the case.
The opposing attorney will easily be able to prove that you put a driver that was not properly qualified behind the wheel and therefore you are at fault due to negligence.
What do you think the insurance is going to say?
Because you didn’t follow the rules we don’t have to cover you, and we don’t want to pay that $1 million+ lawsuit either, so we are going to leave it up to you to figure out how to pay it.
Next time you should really consider doing it right from the beginning.
To me, the risk of not doing drug testing is really high.
Ok, now we can look at the personal risk that is associated with not doing drug testing.
If you know me at all or have been following me for any amount of time, you should know that I LOVE loopholes and gray areas. The government left some things up for interpretation on purpose.
That’s a GREAT thing.
Your personal risk is actually much higher than the driver’s is when it comes to drug testing.
Unless the driver is using drugs, then it equalizes out.
WHAT did I just READ that RIGHT? When the driver is using drugs his personal risk is EQUAL TO MINE?
THAT IS CRAZY!
I know right. Who makes these rules??????
Your personal risk is way high if you chose not to do initial drug testing or randoms.
If a driver gets into an accident and you don’t have a drug test policy in place and do not have negative results from an initial test then it’s the same as allowing someone who tested positive to operate a CDL vehicle.
What that means for you is that the driver might not get any charges brought against them if there is a bad accident, but the owner might get charged with negligence. Or worse.
If the driver is tested after an accident and it comes back positive, then they take some of the responsibility off of you, but not much. Because you didn’t perform reasonable suspicion testing on them before they went out for the day.
So you still have some massive responsibility falling on your shoulders.
What that means is that most likely you will be spending some time in jail if the charges are severe enough.
Financial Risk for an audit: High to Extreme depending on the situation and the number of times it happened since you started the company
Financial Risk in litigation: High to Extreme
Personal Risk: High to Extreme, I’d lean more to extreme depending on the nature of the accident.
How to Fix Risk 8, Not Having An Initial Drug Test On File
The bad thing about mitigating this risk is that there is only one way.
And that’s to get all of our driver’s drugs tested before they operate ANY CDL vehicles for you.
That includes permit holders.
They need to have a negative drug test on file prior to learning how to drive a CDL vehicle.
Not only do you need the initial drug test you also need to have them enrolled in a consortium. That’s just a fancy word for a group that is monitored for random drug tests.
The good news is that Eclipse DOT can help you.
When I said we have your back that is no lie. We have it 150%!
When you sign up for the Managed Driver files you get access to our Drug Testing Consortium and software.
What that means for your team is less downtime & drug tests Nation Wide at a DISCOUNTED price!
Then the results are automatically stored in DOT Docs under a driver’s drug test file!
Did I mention that if you have a driver that fails a drug test we have your back there too?
We can do everything from getting you the SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) contact, working through the clearinghouse with you, to filing the RTD (Return to Duty) test as required by federal regulation.
Like I said we have you covered!
It’s as simple as going to www.DOTDocs.com and signing up for your 30 day FREE trial!
I do have some bad news though.
If you have already let drivers operate a CDL vehicle without having a drug test.
I HATE to say this but there is really nothing you can do to fix the situation.
What I will say is that we should have a conversation, offline, about all of our options so that you can make the best decision for your company that mitigates the MOST risk possible.
That’s what we do, OVER DELIVER!
Just when you thought you were out of options, the Eclipse DOT team pulls through with a loophole or 2 that you might want to use.
Can’t wait to chat!