If rehiring a driver who failed a drug test . . . ?

If rehiring a driver who failed drug test in 2011, then completed his SAP program and aftercare (I have two letters from the SAP confirming this), other than the release for prior testing history, need I obtain anything else? Or have to do anything going forward? I have not ever rehired anyone who has went through a SAP program.

A CDL driver is disqualified to drive any commercial motor vehicle (over 10,001 pounds GVWR or requiring a CDL to drive), or preform any safety-sensitive functions (loading, inspecting, etc.), until he or she re-qualifies by attending a program set up by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

The SAP has to require at least six follow-up tests.
The driver must also be in a random testing program.
Random tests do not count as follow-up-tests.
An employer cannot exceed the SAP’s recommendations.

The regulations say in § 40.297:

Does anyone have the authority to change a SAP’s initial evaluation?

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no one (e.g., an employer, employee, a managed-care provider, any service agent) may change in any way the SAP’s evaluation or recommendations for assistance. For example, a third party is not permitted to make more or less stringent a SAP’s recommendation by changing the SAP’s evaluation or seeking another SAP’s evaluation.

Bottom Line: Follow the SAP’s return-to-duty report exactly. One employer had a driver who was suppose to do a follow-up test within the first 30-days but the driver missed the test by two days because of a delay on the trip. The employer was later fined by FMCSA.

Federal DOT Auditors look at any positive tests or refusal to undergo drug or alcohol testing for the previous five years when they conduct any investigation, so make sure you always follow the SAP’s requirements and federal regulations for any positive tests or refusal to test, as the DOT will carefully examine these records.

What if rehiring the driver from another company?

The testing schedule set by the SAP will carry over with the employee. Even if he or she were to go work with another company, the SAP’s requirements follow the driver.

Summary
A driver who has failed a drug or alcohol test needs an SAP evaluation and release. Before performing any safety-sensitive functions, the driver must undergo a return-to-duty drug test, and then at least six more follow-up tests, as specified in the SAP’s evaluation.