What Constitutes Reasonable Suspicion?

If you are in the transportation industry, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring that you have an effective drug and alcohol testing program set up for your employees. You also need to make sure that your company is in compliance with the rules established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). One of the things that is critical to understand is when you have reasonable suspicion to administer a drug or alcohol test to an employee. Here’s what you need to know:

When may a reasonable suspicion test of a driver be ordered?
A reasonable suspicion test of a driver may be ordered by their supervisor in the event that they have reasonable cause to suspect that the driver violated the rules by using drugs or alcohol. In making this judgment call, the supervisor may take factors such as a driver’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odor into account. These factors cannot be vague: The supervisor must be able to explain the reasons for suspicion clearly and articulately, and they must be based on observations made at the time.

Can a reasonable suspicion test be ordered by someone besides a driver’s supervisor?
Only a driver’s trained supervisor can order a reasonable suspicion test. If a trained individual who is not that driver’s supervisor observes any evidence that the driver may have used drugs or alcohol before driving, they may report that to the supervisor, who can take whatever action is needed.

Are reasonable suspicion rules different for controlled substances than they are for alcohol?
For drivers, any use of a controlled substance is considered unlawful because those substances can remain in the system for a long time. Therefore, if a driver seems to be experiencing withdrawal from a controlled substance, it can be cause for a reasonable suspicion test. Since alcohol is legal and drivers are only prohibited from having a high blood alcohol concentration while driving, they cannot be tested on reasonable suspicion grounds simply for showing signs of withdrawal.

HDS Safety Services specializes in providing companies with dependable drug and alcohol testing services to ensure that they get the best, most responsible team members possible. If you want to ensure that your business is following DOT regulations, you can get in touch with us today at (520) 622-0419.