With so many commercial vehicles on the road, safety is essential in the trucking industry. One of the most important requirements to maintain safe travel is drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the Department of Transportation (DOT), sets the requirements for when trucking companies must drug test their drivers. 49 CFR Part 382 C of the FMCSA regulations outlines when screening is required by law.

You will need to screen your drivers for illegal drug use and alcohol abuse at these times:

Pre-Employment Testing

Motor carriers must screen their CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers for drug use before they perform any safety-sensitive functions for the company. This means that you must complete the drug test and confirm a negative result before the new employee drives a CMV (commercial motor vehicle). The FMCSA does not require alcohol testing before employment, but it does set regulations if you do choose to screen for alcohol. For example, you must perform the same testing on all safety-sensitive employees, so if you desire to alcohol test, you must do this for every new hire.

Random Drug Screening

Random drug tests help continuously ensure that your employees are not using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol. For random screening, the FMCSA does require both drug and alcohol testing. You must randomly select employees to test from a pool of all safety-sensitive workers. The FMCSA sets a percentage each year of how many employees you must screen during each testing period. This is based on the number of violations in the industry as a whole.

Reasonable Suspicion

When a supervisor has a reasonable suspicion that a driver is using controlled substances or alcohol on the job, they are required to perform a drug test or alcohol test for that employee. Once reasonable suspicion is identified, the driver in question must complete screening promptly. Only officials who are trained in reasonable suspicion can request this type of test. HDS Safety Services offers training to help your supervisors understand the reasonable suspicion guidelines set by the FMCSA.

Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing

If a commercial driver is involved in an accident while on the job, it may be necessary to screen for drug or alcohol use. This is based on the type of damage. If there was a human fatality, the FMCSA requires you to test your driver under all circumstances. If there was an injury to another driver that required immediate medical treatment away from the scene, or if another vehicle was damaged and towed away, you only need to screen for drug or alcohol use if there was a citation.

Return-to-Duty After Testing Positive

When a driver refuses a drug or alcohol test, has a positive result, or otherwise violates FMCSA regulations, they will need to cease safety-sensitive duties immediately. A DOT- qualified substance abuse professional will supervise the return-to-duty process for this individual. The driver will need to meet all of FMCSA’s requirements, which includes an observed drug and/or alcohol screening. A negative result is required before they can resume safety-sensitive tasks.

HDS Safety Services

Helping You Meet Drug Test Requirements

If you operate a trucking company, it is essential that you follow all DOT and FMCSA regulations for drug testing. HDS Safety Services can help you stay compliant for drug and alcohol testing. We also offer non-DOT tests for employers who want to take extra steps to keep their employees and others safe on the road.

Contact us today to learn more about our drug testing services.

Safety training is a critical part of complying with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and in keeping your team on the road. At HDS Safety Services, we offer a number of different training courses for drivers and supervisors that can be tailored to the specific needs of your business. These courses can be taught in person or online. Here is a closer look at some of the safety training courses we offer.

Compliance Training

DOT compliance regulations are complicated, but even a minor error can lead to significant fines and can take your fleet off the road for an extended period of time. In our compliance training course, our team will teach your compliance staff how to build an effective safety program for your business and how to manage safe working conditions on an ongoing basis. The course also covers DOT compliance rules, so that your team understands the guidelines.

Maintenance and Inspection Training

Your drivers are on the frontline of safety compliance, and proper vehicle inspections and maintenance are part the process of staying safe on the road. During this course, our team teaches your drivers to inspect their vehicles and perform basic maintenance tasks. This course is taught using your drivers’ own vehicles, so they get to see exactly how the process should be conducted on the vehicles they will take on the road.

Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion Training

Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing is an important part of maintaining a high level of safety in your business. During this course, we teach your supervisors how to spot signs of alcohol and drug abuse and how to conduct reasonable suspicion testing in accordance with DOT guidelines. Anyone who takes this course will receive a Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion certification from the DOT.

If you’re interested in providing safety training classes in Tucson to your team, call HDS Safety Services today. Dial (520) 622-0419 to learn more or to register for a course.  

Random drug tests are one of the best ways to make sure drugs are not an issue in your workplace. When drug tests are randomized, every employee understands his or her responsibility to be sober and knows the consequences of violating that expectation. Randomized testing is also fair to your entire team and gives employees an easy way of avoiding social pressure to take drugs, since they can blame workplace testing. If you’re interested in setting up a randomized drug testing program in your workplace, the Department of Transportation, or DOT, recommends these strategies.

Know Your Randomized Rate Requirements

The DOT requires randomized testing for safety-sensitive employees, but the rate at which you are required to test varies between transportation industries. The rates change annually, and they can always be found on the DOT website. There are different randomized test rates for drug and alcohol testing. Keep in mind that these rates are minimum requirements. You can decide the rates that are appropriate for your company, as long as you meet these minimum standards.

Test According to Job Function

To meet DOT requirements for random drug testing, you should decide who to include in the random pool according to their job function. Anyone with a safety-sensitive position, regardless of their job title, should be subject to random drug tests, according to DOT guidelines. You can have a separate randomized test policy at your business that includes other people in the test pool, but if your purpose is to set up a DOT-compliant randomized test program, then you should only include safety-sensitive roles.

Make Test Selection and Timing Unpredictable

Everyone in your test pool should have the same chance of getting selected for a test, and tests should take place on different days for each round. Generally, tests should be performed quarterly, but within each quarter, the date should be unpredictable.

If you need help setting up or executing a random drug testing program, call HDS Safety Services. Our safety and compliance experts in Tucson can help you build the right testing program for your company’s needs. For more information, call (520) 622-0419.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to identify all potential hazards, and to ensure that the company meets state and federal compliance requirements. Depending on your company and industry, some of those hazards may include hazardous materials. In addition to providing rigorous initial training for employees who will handle hazardous materials, your company can protect your workers by providing frequent reminders and continuing training opportunities.

Check for container labeling.

Before handling any container that may contain hazardous materials, employees should always check the label. Any container that is damaged, lacks a label, or has an illegible label should be promptly reported to the supervisor. The labeling information, along with the MSDS information will alert employees to the potential hazards and necessary precautions.

Use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Employees must be provided with the proper PPE and trained on its use. Employees should get into the habit of carefully inspecting all PPE items prior to use. Worn out or damaged PPE should be replaced promptly, as it won’t provide sufficient protection from hazardous materials.

Prevent contamination and cross-contamination risks.

Employees should be provided with the necessary cleaning equipment in order to keep their work surfaces clean. All work surfaces should be cleaned at least once per shift to reduce the risk of contamination. Employees should be reminded to wash up with soap and water after handling any hazardous materials. They should also be reminded to avoid eating or drinking anything, or handling cosmetics or contact lenses if there is a possibility that their hands are contaminated.

Understand emergency protocols.

Every company must have established emergency protocols. These should include evacuation procedures, emergency reporting procedures, and protocols for handling fires, spills, and chemical toxicity. All new employees should be thoroughly trained on these procedures, and additional training may be conducted to remind veteran employees.

HDS Safety Services is a trusted provider of comprehensive transportation industry safety and compliance solutions. We build, audit, and maintain driver qualification files, and conduct federal and state audits of company-wide safety programs. Partner with HDS Safety Services today by calling our headquarters in Tucson at (520) 622-0419.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires certain supervisors to undergo training in reasonable suspicion. This requirement covers supervisors working in the trucking, airline, transit, railroad, pipeline, hazardous materials, and maintenance of way sectors. Reasonable suspicion training empowers supervisors to make appropriate decisions regarding the drug and alcohol testing of employees.

Understanding Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Safety-sensitive employees are required to undergo drug and alcohol testing at certain times, such as when they are hired. Additionally, supervisors may initiate reasonable suspicion testing if a safety-sensitive employee is showing possible indicators of drug or alcohol misuse. Reasonable suspicion testing is intended to protect the public welfare by identifying and handling employees who are misusing alcohol or drugs, and by serving as a deterrent to reduce the risk of alcohol and drug abuse in safety-sensitive sectors.

Exploring Reasonable Suspicion Training

Federal code requires supervisors to undergo two hours of reasonable suspicion training. One of these training hours covers alcohol misuse. The second covers illegal drug use.

Identifying the Components of Reasonable Suspicion

In the training course, supervisors will learn about the criteria for making a reasonable suspicion testing determination. All test determinations must be made on the basis of the supervisor’s objective and specific observations of the employee. A “gut feeling” is not an adequate basis to initiate reasonable suspicion testing. Rather, if called upon, the supervisor must be able to articulate observations about the employee’s behavior, speech, body odors, or appearance. These observations should be suggestive of alcohol misuse, illegal drug use, or drug or alcohol withdrawal. It should be noted that the supervisor must directly make these observations. It is insufficient for the supervisor to rely on secondhand reports from other sources, such as other employees.

HDS Safety Services is pleased to offer comprehensive and customizable training courses for drivers and supervisors. Supervisors are invited to enroll in our reasonable suspicion training course, available both online and in-person. Call our office in Tucson at (520) 622-0419 for additional information about DOT-certification in reasonable suspicion.

Any type of employee has the potential to result in liability issues for a company. But for a driver, these liability issues can become quite severe. It’s essential to do a thorough background check before hiring a new driver. The employee screening company will give you a complete report on the driver’s professional history. Watch out for the following red flags.

 

The driver’s CDL is expired.

A commercial driver’s license may expire anywhere from five to eight years after its date of issuance, depending on the state. You should always verify that a driver’s CDL is valid before making an offer of employment. The background screening company can also verify the driver’s identity to ensure that the person who was issued that CDL is the same person applying for employment with your company.

 

The driver has a history of accidents.

It’s relatively uncommon to come across a veteran commercial truck driver with zero accidents on his or her record. One or two accidents might not automatically rule out a driver’s chances of employment with your company. It’s a good idea to dig further into the record and speak with the driver about the incidents. Sometimes, CDL drivers are found to be not at fault for a crash. However, if a truck driver has many accidents on his or her record, then your company will likely prefer to hire someone else.

 

The driver has a criminal history.

Some criminal offenses result in an automatic disqualification for the CDL. These include felonies that involve the use of a commercial motor vehicle, drug trafficking while on duty, and driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Even if a particular criminal offense doesn’t result in the loss of the CDL, your company might still prefer to take a pass on that driver.

HDS Safety Services is your source for complete driver qualification services. Our experts provide comprehensive quarterly reports to ensure that your files will remain in full compliance at all times. Call our office in Tucson at (520) 622-0419 to learn about our pre-employment qualification services.

The dangers of stimulants like cocaine and Benzedrine are well-known. But there’s another stimulant that is being widely abused in the U.S.—and it’s legally prescribed to kids and adults. Stimulants prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been more commonly prescribed to adults since 2006, when a scientific study was released regarding the incidence rates of ADHD in adults. As a result of widespread use and drug abuse, more working professionals are being affected by it.

 

The Use and Misuse of Stimulants

As with any legally prescribed drug, it’s possible to use it safely and responsibly. ADHD stimulants have been used to manage symptoms since the 1930s. Unfortunately, the non-medical use of stimulants has been on the rise. According to Psychiatric Times, it’s been estimated that five million people during the past year have misused stimulant drugs, and 0.4 million suffer from prescription stimulant use disorders.

 

The Causes of Stimulant Misuse

Young adults who are misusing stimulants are often college students who pull all-night study sessions. In the workforce, adults who are misusing stimulants are trying to boost their cognitive function and enhance their productivity at work. ADHD drug abuse affects professionals across all industries, from truck drivers to nurses to lawyers to Wall Street traders. People who are susceptible to the problem are those with easy access to the drug, who feel compelled to keep up with the competition in the workplace or who are required to work long hours or on tight deadlines.

 

The Health Risks of Stimulant Abuse

People abusing stimulants are susceptible to any of the side effects listed on the product label. However, abuse of the drug tends to make side effects occur more often, with greater severity. Additionally, long-term or severe stimulant abuse may lead to:

 

  • Changes in vision
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Mania
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain

 

With collection sites throughout the U.S., HDS Safety Services is your company’s partner in drug and alcohol testing. Find out how you can promote health and safety in your workplace to improve efficiency and manage liability issues. You can reach our headquarters in Tucson at (520) 622-0419.

 

For companies in the transportation industry, managing DOT compliance is an important part of doing business. However, adhering to demanding standards that frequently change is also time-consuming, and too often, companies find themselves continuously playing catch-up with compliance issues. With the prospect of major fines and disruption to your business for non-compliance, can you really risk not having a clear strategy for staying on the right side of DOT mandates? DOT compliance consulting can help you take control and feel more confident about your approach to managing compliance. Here is a look at some of the benefits of working with a qualified DOT compliance consulting service.

Develop a System That Fits Your Business

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all compliance plan. By working a consulting service, you can develop a system that works for the way you do business. Having a set strategy for everything from drug and alcohol testing to drive qualification checks and training will make it easier to ensure that there are no missing pieces of your program and that you are not overlooking any critical part of DOT compliance regulations that could put your business at risk.

Spot and Correct Compliance Issues

Are you getting rid of files before DOT regulations allow? Have you failed to conduct sufficient drug and alcohol tests on your employees? A compliance consultant can identify areas in which your protocols aren’t up to regulations, so you can take steps to fix them before they lead to costly fines for your business.

Build Complete Employee Files

DOT regulations require you to conduct thorough pre-employment screenings, and in some instances, you may want to have screenings performed that aren’t required by the DOT but that you believe are smart for your business. A consulting company can generate everything from criminal background reports to CDLIS records so that you can vet employees and maintain useful files about your team.

Manage your employees, make smart hiring decisions, and adhere to regulations that affect your business with DOT compliance consulting from HDS Safety Services. We offer both comprehensive consulting and individual compliance services to meet your needs. Find out more about DOT compliance consulting in Tucson by calling (520) 622-0419.

Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, are designed to replace paper records for hours of service (HOS) and records of duty status (RODS) reports. The devices are more convenient for drivers, and they are also more reliable, which in turn helps prevent situations in which drivers are pressured to drive for more hours than the DOT considers to be safe. Most truck drivers are required to use ELDs, except for those in vehicles manufactured before 2000 and those who use short-haul, timecard exceptions. Many drivers and transportation companies have questions about ELDs and compliance issues. These answers may help you better understand the rules.

What is the difference between ELDs and AOBRDs?

Automatic on-board recording devices, or AOBRDs, were introduced in 1988, and they represented a huge leap forward for the DOT in tracking hours of operation for drivers and in monitoring vehicle location. However, the technology has become outdated, which is why the transition to ELDs is required. ELDs have several features that AOBRDs do not. Some of the things that become standard with ELD use are recording location information every 60 minutes and notifications when drivers hit HOS limits.

How many ELD accounts can a driver have with his or her motor carrier company?

Motor carrier companies can only assign one ELD account to each driver. The ELD accounts should be linked to a driver’s license number, and the device should prevent one number from being used for multiple accounts. Motor carriers are also required to have a password-protected security process for logging in for their drivers.

What happens if drivers or carriers violate ELD rules?

Violations can be costly for drivers and carriers alike. Fines can be significant, and in some cases, the vehicle will be placed out of service and may be required to be towed. Vehicles can be placed out of service for 10 hours per violation, resulting in a significant loss of driving hours.

Has your ELD transition been bumpy, or do you need assistance in making sure you are in compliance? HDS Safety Solutions is here to help. Talk to a DOT compliance expert and learn more about ELD auditing in Tucson today by calling (520) 622-0419.

Electronic logging devices may not have been welcome with open arms by truckers and trucking companies, but as of December 18, 2017, eligible commercial vehicles were required to have ELDs on board or be judged to be noncompliant with the law. Of course, avoiding fines and other penalties by becoming compliant is one of the biggest advantages of using ELDs, there are other benefits that you may overlooking. Here are some of the additional advantages of using ELDs for drivers and commercial transportation business owners alike.

Less Paperwork

Paper logs of driving Hours of Service may be familiar, but that doesn’t make them efficient. Because an ELD will log your hours of work and vehicle movements for you, you won’t have to complete any paper records or deal with storing those records for the future. Everything will be held on the device itself, which means far less paperwork for fleet managers and drivers. Most people are surprised at the amount of time they save when they can take that paperwork burden off their schedules.

Save on Fuel Costs

ELDs give business owners a great deal of insight into what is happening with their drivers on the road. With this information, you can track one of the biggest wastes of fuel: Idling. ELDs will let you see when a driver is idling more than other drivers and using an excessive amount of fuel, so you can take steps to address the issue.

Identifying Driver Behavior Issues

Being able to see how drivers are doing their jobs will also help you spot behavioral issues that could be putting your team and business at risk. Using ELDs, you can see patterns of speeding, hard cornering, and hard braking. This lets you retrain drivers who need additional support and remove chronic problem drivers from your team.

Do you need help becoming compliant with ELD regulations and auditing your ELD records? HDS Safety Services can help to alleviate your administrative burden and ensure you are always on the right side of DOT guidelines. For more information about ELD auditing in Tucson, call (520) 622-0419.

In the workplace, having a comprehensive safety and compliance program is not just required by federal law—it is also good for business. A strong program will help to keep your team safe, prevent delays for your customers caused by compliance issues, and reduce the risk that your company will run afoul of federal and state safety regulations. This is especially true if your business is subject to DOT guidelines. Here is a closer look at the pieces of a comprehensive safety and compliance program that will protect your business and meet DOT regulations.

Training and Qualifications

All of your employees should receive appropriate training for their roles based on your specific company needs and any DOT requirements for their positions. This includes training in maintenance, inspections, and hours and service rules. It is also important for your company to have a system for vetting the qualifications of applicants and managing those qualifications for all employees, to ensure that the qualifications are legitimate and up to date.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

A rigorous drug and alcohol testing program is essential for any business involved in transportation, and most other industries can benefit from this kind of testing program as well. Your drug and alcohol program should include pre-employment screenings, random testing for employees, and reasonable suspicion testing protocols.

Auditing

Auditing is an important part of ensuring that you and your employees remain compliant with DOT regulations and your internal standards. This includes electronic logging device auditing as well as general auditing of your practices and the effectiveness of your safety and compliance initiatives.

HDS Safety Service can administer a safety and compliance program for your company, so you can focus on the logistics of running your business. Talk to one of our compliance experts in Tucson about your company’s needs by calling (520) 622-0419.

DOT drug tests are part of doing business, but when one of your drivers fails, it can cause a significant amount of chaos. Many transportation company owners aren’t sure what to do when a failed DOT drug test happens, and whether they will ever be able to put that driver behind the wheel again. Fortunately, if you work with a compliance consulting company, they can help you make a plan for managing the process that lies ahead. Here are the answers to some of the questions people frequently have after a failed DOT drug test.

Does an employee have to stop working immediately after a failed drug test?

When an employee fails a drug test, the employer is obligated to remove him or her from safety-sensitive functions, as defined by the DOT. Employers are not permitted to wait for a written test review from a medical review officer or the results of additional testing to remove the employee from duty. According to federal law, the employee must be taken off safety-sensitive duties right away. They can continue to do jobs that are not considered to be safety-sensitive.

What do employers have to do after a failed drug test?

If an employee fails a drug test, it is the responsibility of the employer to give the employee information about Substance Abuse Professionals—or SAPs—that have been approved by the DOT. Although the employer does not have to pay for treatment, he or she must give this information about SAPs, so that the employee knows what he or she must do to regain his or her job.

When can an employee begin working again after a failed drug test?

Before returning to safety-sensitive duties, employees who fail drug tests must be evaluated by a DOT-sanctioned SAP. The SAP will notify the employer when the employee is eligible to return to work. He or she must also have a negative drug test and should undergo follow-up testing.

HDS Safety Services provides a range of compliance solutions, including driver qualifications, to ensure your fleet stays within DOT regulations. Keep your drivers and your business on track with help from our compliance service in Tucson by calling (520) 622-0419.