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 onboard 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 However, technology has become outdated, which is why the transition to ELDs is required.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.

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.

Drug and alcohol testing are important parts of maintaining a safe working environment for many businesses, especially those companies that are subject to DOT regulations. Both reasonable suspicion and random testing play roles, but what is the difference between them, and how should they be applied?

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Reasonable suspicion testing—also called cause testing—is, as the name suggests, performed when there is a reason to believe that an employee is using drugs or alcohol. Reasonable suspicion testing is used on both DOT-regulated companies and non-DOT businesses, but there are very tight rules that apply to how it can be applied.

First, your workplace must have a clear drug and alcohol policy that has been provided to employees and that they acknowledge receiving. This policy should state the procedure for reasonable suspicion testing, how and when it can be applied, and who can order it. Generally, this kind of testing can be ordered when there are signs of impairment on the job, but the symptoms must be observed by a supervisor—not simply reported by another employee—and the reasons for ordering a test must be documented. Following these guidelines is essential for avoiding legal complications regarding improper reasonable suspicion testing.

Random Testing

Random drug and alcohol testing are done without warning or pattern, in the absence of any indicators of substance abuse. This kind of testing is required by the DOT for employees who work in safety-sensitive fields. For example, truck drivers are subject to random testing.

Employees who are subject to DOT rules are required to comply with all random drug and alcohol testing requests. Refusing to do so can result in removal from duty.

Drug and alcohol testing requirements can be complex, but HDS Safety Services can help you navigate the process while building a safer workplace. For drug and alcohol testing Tucson, please call (520) 622-0419.

September 12, 2018

Tolleson, AZ – Today, the Arizona Trucking Association (ATA) announced HDS Safety Services as its newest Endorsed Partner.

“Everything a trucking company does emphasizes safety and as an industry we are always looking to improve safety,” said ATA President and CEO Tony Bradley. “Because safety is so important, it is vital to have great partners to help with not only safety but safety compliance. That’s why ATA is proud to announce HDS Safety Services as an Endorsed Partner.”

HDS Companies have had a long-standingrelationship with the Arizona Trucking Association and we expect this new partnership to benefit theAssociation and its members.

HDS Safety Services will offer a variety of safety services including:

  •  -Compliance Auditing Services
  •  -Compliance Consulting
  •  -Safety Training
  •  -Driver Qualifications
  •  -Electronic Logging Device Auditing

“HDS Safety Services is honored to be selected as an endorsed partner for the ATA,” said HDS Founder Doug Prall. “We believe that HDS Safety Services will help ATA members reduce carrier burden and allow them to focus on the other aspects of their business.”

To find out more about HDS Safety Services, please visit their website www.hdssafetyservices.com or call 877-206-1282. Be sure to let them know you are an ATA member.

About HDS:
In 1969, George Prall founded the Driver Dispatch Corporation to help companies find drivers who fit their specific needs. In 1985, George’s son, Doug Prall, founded Highway Distribution Services (HDS), which took over the service of helping carriers find drivers that fit their specific needs. Today, our company consists of over 200 drivers, four truck driving schools, a DOT regulations consulting division and a truck load carrier with over 150 trucks.

About ATA:
The Arizona Trucking Association is a non-profit trade association that serves as the primary voice of the trucking industry in Arizona.

Qualified, skilled drivers can be your company’s biggest asset, but the wrong drivers can be your biggest liability. By taking the time to adequately screen drivers before putting them behind the wheel in your fleet, you can make sure you build an efficient team that operates safely. Working with an outside driver qualification company is a good way to conduct a thorough assessment of potential drivers. These tips will also help.

Cover the Basics

Before you go further with any applicant, you should make sure you have vetted the basic facts you need to know. Be sure the driver has a valid license and has passed a road test for the vehicle he or she will be driving. You should also confirm that all applicants are physically able to operate the vehicle safely and that they can read and speak enough English to do the work. If they have any driver violation convictions on their record, they should be able to present you information about those convictions, including proof that any license suspensions have been lifted.

Perform Alcohol and Drug Screenings

Alcohol and drug screenings should happen on a regular basis for all of your employed drivers, but they are essential upfront. You will need to provide this information to the Department of Transportation, but complying with their guidelines is not the only reason that screenings are necessary. Allowing drivers who use alcohol and drugs to get behind the wheels of your fleet jeopardizes your employees, community, and customers, so develop a robust screening policy for your team.

Conduct In-Person Interviews

Although phone interviews may seem appealing, especially when you’re in a rush to hire team members, always take the time to do interviews in person. Discussing your expectations and hearing drivers talk about how they view their roles will give you a clear idea of who is a good fit for your team.

HDS Safety Services can help in the hiring process by creating and administering your driver qualification files in compliance with DOT regulations and with the pre-employment qualification process. For driver qualification assistance in Tucson, please call (520) 622-0419.

Hours of service have long been a hot button issue for transportation companies. CDL drivers must abide by strict regulations regarding how long they can work before they are required to take a break. One of the more recent updates to these regulations is the mandatory use of electronic log devices (ELDs). Here’s a quick look at the ELD rule and its exemptions.

Covered Drivers Under the ELD Rule

Most drivers and motor carriers are required to have ELDs installed. Drivers are covered under the ELD rule if they participate in interstate commerce. Any driver who must maintain records of duty status is also covered.

Drivers Exempt from the ELD Rule

Any drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to use ELDs or to keep records of duty status (RODS). Other drivers who are exempt from the ELD rule are still required to adhere to the RODS regulations, and they must still manually prepare a written log. These exempt drivers are:

  • Drivers who operate older vehicles (pre-2000)
  • Drivers who must keep RODS for no more than eight days out of any 30-day period
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for no more than eight days out of any 30-day period
  • Drivers who operate with the short-haul exception
  • Drivers who do drive-away-tow-away operations

This last exemption assumes that drivers who are conducting drive-away-tow-away operations are driving the commodity for delivery.

Drivers Qualifying for the Short-Haul Exception

To qualify for the short-haul exception to the ELD rule, drivers must start and complete their driving duties at the same location. They must also be released from job responsibilities within 12 consecutive hours. Short-haul drivers must operate within 100 air-miles (or 115.08 statute miles) of the location at which they report for work. For property-carrying drivers who operate CMVs that do not require a CDL, that geographical range is extended to 150 air-miles.

 

HDS Safety Services can help your company stay in full compliance with our electronic log device auditing services. Our auditing services take a proactive approach that identifies potential violations before they occur. Call our office in Tucson, AZ at (520) 622-0419.

For DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing, split specimens are standard practice. A split specimen test proceeds much the same as any other urine test. However, the driver’s collected urine is divided into two samples. If the first tested sample reveals a positive result, the second sample can be tested to either confirm or reject the findings of the first test.

Background of Split Specimen Tests

Split specimen tests protect drivers and other employees from false positives. This testing procedure became mandatory for the transportation industry in 1991 when the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act (OTETA) was passed. OTETA’s split specimen provisions were intended to protect drivers from faulty lab equipment, lab mix-ups, and false positives triggered by the presence of legitimate medications or foods. Under the OTETA, only the employee can request testing of the second sample. The DOT, employer, or medical review officer (MRO) doesn’t have the authority to order testing of the second sample.

Benefits of Split Specimen Tests

Split specimen tests are beneficial for both employees and employers. Employees get peace of mind knowing that a lab mix-up or equipment malfunction won’t cost them their jobs and good reputation. Employers also benefit from split specimen drug and alcohol testing. They can rest assured knowing that the employee can’t provide an artificially clean sample of urine for a second test—only urine that has already been collected will be tested.

Payment for Split Specimen Tests

Once an employee has been notified by the MRO that the first sample tested positive, he or she has 72 hours to request a test of the second sample. If the employee can’t pay for the second test, the FMCSA requires the employer to pay for it so that the test can be conducted in a timely manner. Following this, the employer may seek reimbursement from the employee in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining policy or written company policy.

 

HDS Safety Services is a leading provider of drug and alcohol testing for safety-sensitive workers. Our collection sites are available around the country, with secure storage of electronic results. Call (520) 622-0419 to speak with a drug and alcohol testing expert in Tucson, AZ.

Drug and alcohol testing facilities are required to follow very strict protocols to ensure compliance with regulations. The DOT-compliant urine collection protocols were designed to prevent samples from being tampered with or otherwise compromised. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the urine collection protocols.

Site Integrity

Before each testing appointment, the collector must inspect the collection site to ensure there are no opportunities for the employee to tamper with the sample. Collectors will:

  • Ensure there is a coloring agent in the toilet and tank.
  • Temporarily prevent the functioning of water faucets.
  • Remove all possible adulterants from the location, including soap and cleaning agents.
  • Inspect or secure any items that could be used to conceal adulterants, including paper towel holders and under-sink areas.

Employee Arrival

As soon as the employee arrives for testing, he or she must begin the testing procedures. Collectors do not delay testing if an employee states that he or she isn’t ready or is unable to urinate, since this provides the opportunity for tampering. The collector verifies the employee’s identification information and explains the collection procedures. Then, the collector must ask the employee to remove all outer clothing, including jackets and hats, and place these items along with other personal belongings (bags, briefcases, etc.) in a secured location. The employee has the right to request a receipt to retrieve personal belongings afterward.

Sample Collection

The collector does not need to remain in the collection room while the employee is providing the sample. However, the collector will remain nearby, and will time the employee. If the employee takes too long or the collector has any reason to believe the employee is attempting to tamper with the sample, then the collector will immediately initiate a second collection using a new kit. The employee will be under direct observation of the collector when the second sample is being provided.

HDS Safety Services provides a complete continuum of services for employers in the Tucson area, including DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing, state and federal auditing, pre-employment screening, and compliance and safety training. Call (520) 622-0419 if you have any questions about your workplace safety program.

DOT-compliant drug testing programs are intended to protect the safety of everyone on the roadways. Drivers who hold CDL licenses may be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing after they get into an accident. Since not all substances remain in the body for prolonged periods of time, post-accident testing should be done as quickly as possible.

Must drivers be suspended pending the results?

Ultimately, a driver is always subject to any restrictions placed by law enforcement officials, or by the FMCSA or DOT regulations. However, if a particular driver is not subject to restrictions from these agencies, then he or she can continue driving while awaiting the results of the post-accident drug screen. Individual employers may have different policies in place.

When must alcohol tests be performed?

Under Federal Code 382.303, an alcohol test should be administered as soon as practicable. If an alcohol test cannot be administered within two hours of the accident, the employer is legally required to create and maintain a record that states the test was not administered within this time period. If the alcohol test is not administered within eight hours, employers must cease trying to get the test administered. They must also prepare and maintain an official record to that effect.

What happens if the surviving driver is injured?

Federal Code 382.303 states that drivers are required to remain readily available for testing, or else the employer will record them as refusing to submit to testing. However, there is an exception. The regulations do not require drivers to delay seeking necessary medical attention in order to get to a testing facility. The same exception applies to drivers who need to obtain accident response assistance.

 

When must controlled substance tests be performed?

The regulations require controlled substance tests to be performed within 32 hours of an accident. Since substances degrade in the body over time, it is not expected that employers will continue to try to arrange for testing after this point. If the test isn’t properly administered, the employer is required to create and maintain a record to that effect.

 

Post-accident drug testing is one of the many DOT-compliant services we provide here at HDS Safety Services. You can call our office in Tucson at (520) 622-0419 for the answers to all of your questions about drug and alcohol testing.

Electronic log device technology—or ELD—is the new normal for drivers who are under a mandate to record their duty status and who are involved in interstate commerce. Drivers who were not eligible for an extension had to adopt ELD technology by December 18, 2017, and all drivers must be used by December 16, 2019. Many operators have questions about making the transition to using ELDs. Here are the answers to some common queries to surround this change.

Why is ELD being implemented?

ELD simply automates a process that has always been required. In the past, drivers had to record their own hours of service. Now, the ELD will do that automatically. Additionally, the ELDs will track the amount of time the engine is on, how many miles were driven when the vehicle was in motion and the duration of engine operation. All of these factors will give a more accurate record of hours of service (HOS) for drivers, which makes the recordkeeping easier for businesses. Likewise, law enforcement can easily access ELD data when necessary.

Who is exempt from the implementation?

Ultimately, very few drivers will be exempt from using ELDs. Drivers whose vehicles are equipped with Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) can delay their transitions to ELDs until December 16, 2019. Drivers who currently operate under short-haul exemptions for recordkeeping or who use paper records for eight or fewer days out of 30 are also exempt. ELDs are not required for drivers who do driveway/tow-away operations or whose vehicles were made before 2000 and don’t support ELDs are also exempt.

How can companies benefit from ELD auditing?

ELD auditing can provide daily HOS records for drivers, so motor carriers are aware of any potential violations. This can help companies avoid costly fines and intervene when drivers are exceeding their HOS allowances.

 

HDS Safety Services provides extensive EDL auditing services, including driver counseling and HOS training, to ensure safety and compliance for motor carriers. Find out more about implementing EDL auditing by calling (520) 622-0419.

For the first time in more than 20 years, the federal agency responsible for motor carrier regulation has issued official guidance on personal conveyance. That’s where a commercial truck or bus driver can operate the vehicle while off duty and isn’t subject to on-duty hours restrictions. Please see this article written by Aaron Marsh at FleetOwner.com for more details.

https://www.fleetowner.com/resource-center/regulations/article/21702550/10-things-to-know-about-personal-conveyance

Under DOT rules, employees are in violation of safety requirements when they have a positive drug or alcohol test or if they refuse to undergo testing. When this occurs, employees must be immediately removed from any safety-sensitive tasks. If employers fail to remove employees from safety-sensitive work after a violation, they may be fined up to $10,000 per day. After a violation, employees can choose to work outside the transportation industry, but before returning to any safety-sensitive functions within the transportation field, they must undergo the official return-to-duty process set by the DOT. Here is an overview of the requirements for returning to duty after a violation.

Clinical Evaluation

After a violation, substance abuse professional—or SAP—must oversee the return-to-duty process. SAP will first conduct a clinical evaluation of the employee. After the evaluation, the SAP is required by the DOT to recommend a treatment or education plan. An outline of this plan is then provided to the employer by the SAP so that the company understands what the employee must complete before he or she can be cleared to return to work.

Treatment Completion

The employee must complete the program designed by the SAP. During the treatment process, the SAP will monitor the employee’s progress and ensure he or she is complying with all recommendations. Once the employee has made progress through the treatment plan, the SAP will schedule another appointment for a clinical evaluation. During this appointment, the SAP will determine if the employee has complied with the treatment plan and has made sufficient progress. He or she will advise the employer if the employee has complied with treatment or if the employee cannot be considered for return to duty.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

If the SAP has said that the employee has complied with the treatment plan, the employer can arrange a return-to-duty drug or alcohol screening test. If the test is negative, the employer can return the employee to safety-sensitive duties.

 

The return-to-duty process is complex, but HDS Safety Services can facilitate return-to-duty testing as part of a broader drug and alcohol testing program for your business. Find out more about how we can help you comply with DOT requirements for workers and keep your workplace safe by calling (520) 622-0419.