What is the FMCSA Return-to-Duty process?

by | Feb 8, 2021 | 0 comments

The DOT requires the following specific steps to be taken following a positive test:

  1. Removal from safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving) immediately: Even if on the road in another state, he/she must be notified to cease driving as soon it’s safe to do so.
  2. Initial evaluation with a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP): During this face-to-face interview, the SAP will evaluate the employee to understand his/her situation and history. This evaluation allows the SAP to determine what type of activities or treatment the employee must undergo.
  3. Education and Treatment Program: The SAP will prescribe a treatment program for the donor based on the initial interview.
  4. Follow-Up Evaluation with the SAP: After the employee has completed the SAP’s treatment program, another evaluation must take place with the same SAP. At that time, he/she will determine whether the employee may take an RTD test and resume safety-sensitive functions.
  5. Follow-Up Test Schedule: The SAP will provide the Designated Employer Representative (DER) with a schedule of Follow-Up Tests.
  6. Drug Test: Here’s where the RTD comes in. Once the SAP confirms that the employee has successfully completed all requirements, he/she will recommend to the DER that the donor may take a RTD test. Once a negative test result is received, the employee may resume safety-sensitive functions.

How many Follow-Up tests have to be taken?

The DOT requires the SAP to schedule a minimum of six tests over a 12-month period, but the process may continue for up to five years. Like the RTD test, each Follow-Up test must be taken under direct observation.

Do Follow-Up tests replace Random testing?

No. Just like all drivers, the employee must be included in a regular random testing pool and complete any selections he/she may receive. A Random test cannot replace a Follow-Up and a Follow-Up cannot replace a Random, as Random tests are not taken under direct observation.

If you have questions or concerns, leave them in the comments section below or call (800) 253-5506 for assistance.

This blog is the fourth in a Q&A series that will examine each specific DOT test type. Stay tuned for our next blog which will uncover the specifics of Reasonable Suspicion Testing.

Thanks for sharing!



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