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What Happens If I Fail a Pre-Employment DOT Drug Test?

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There are several instances where safety-sensitive workers are required to complete drug and alcohol testing from the Department of Transportation. This testing may occur after an accident or at random, but it is also required for all potential employees. A pre-employment DOT drug test is one of the first steps in becoming a truck driver, pilot, ship captain, subway operator, or any other safety-sensitive position.

What happens if you fail a pre-employment DOT drug test? Can you still get a job? Failing a drug test does not have to mark the end of your career, but you will be required to complete a program before re-applying. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Pre-Employment DOT Drug Test?

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires all safety-sensitive workers to complete a pre-employment drug test before working in a safety-sensitive position. This drug test identifies traces of:

  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates, such as codeine derivatives and opium
  • Phencyclidine – PCP
  • DOT alcohol tests identify alcohol concentration of 0.02 and greater.

Pre-employment DOT drug testing is required for new applicants, as well as safety-sensitive workers applying for work with a new company. Workers who have not worked for 30 days may be required to complete pre-employment testing before re-entry into work. The exception to this rule is when the worker remains employed by the company and stays in the random drug testing pool during his or her time away.

Can I Get a Job after a Failed Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Failing a pre-employment drug test will temporarily stop your employment pursuits, but it is possible to get a DOT job after a failed drug test. To do this, you will need to work with a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and then re-apply or find a company that hires after a failed DOT drug test.

As of January 2020, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse operated by FMSCA is fully operational, and mandatory use is in effect. This means DOT drug or alcohol tests are recorded so you can’t just move from company to company if you fail a test.

Your SAP will create a Return-to-Duty process for you to complete, and then you will undergo a new round of drug testing. If successful, this will clear you to re-apply for a safety-sensitive position.

What to Expect from the Return-to-Duty Process

The Return-to-Duty process starts with a face-to-face evaluation with a DOT qualified SAP near you. Your SAP will assess the circumstances of your failed pre-employment DOT drug test. Then he or she will create a treatment/education program for you to complete. The timeframe this varies on a case-by-case basis.

If I don’t agree with the SAPs recommendations, can I go to another SAP? No, DOT regulations state that once you have started an evaluation process with a SAP, you cannot seek the services of a different SAP. No second opinions.

After completing the requirements, you will have another face-to-face evaluation with your SAP. The SAP will then write a report to send to your Designated Employee Representative (DER). You will then take a Return-to-Duty DOT drug test. If you complete your SAP program and pass that drug test, you should be able to re-apply for work.

American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. offers SAP services throughout the nation. Our DOT-qualified SAPs have helped thousands of safety-sensitive workers return to work after a failed DOT drug test. To get matched with a SAP near you, call 888-792-2727 or enroll online.

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