The Biggest Mistake Companies Make When Hiring DOT CDL Drivers


Biggest mistake hiring cdl driversDrug testing is an important component of the hiring process. Failure to conduct a pre-employment screen violates federal regulations; however, when companies inquire about our consortium services, 80% of them do not have a pre-employment drug screen on file. We are always surprised to hear that an employer does not have pre-employment drug screens as they are required for all DOT CDL drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMSCA).

Pre-employment testing is conducted to help prevent you from hiring individuals who illegally use drugs. Individuals with habitual drug use can present a serious threat while on the road. People sharing the road with your drivers entrust that you are implementing all the required safety measures to keep the roads as hazard-free as possible.

Why you need to conduct pre-placement drug screens for new employees

Drug testing is a requirement of the DOT and you must receive from a Medical Review Officer (MRO) a negative test result on the test before you can hire the individual. This requirement also applies when a current employee is transferring from a non-safety position to a safety-sensitive job for the first time.

As part of the hiring process, the candidate must agree to be tested and should not be hired if they fail to have a negative test.  Once a negative test is confirmed, the driver can be officially hired. Following hire, FMSCA requires 50% of drivers to be tested randomly on an annual basis.

In addition to being a federal regulation requirement, many employers implement pre-placement drug screens to:

  • Identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that drivers are working safely
  • Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Premium Discount programs

Pre-employment screens are extremely important to the safety of your drivers, others on the road and the overall culture of your business. Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant health and safety implications along with decreasing employee productivity and morale.  On-going abuse can increase your health care costs related to claims, specifically, regarding short-term disability.

How to conduct your pre-employment drug screens

As an employer, you have several options when it comes to administering your DOT drug and alcohol testing. You can administer it internally, however, you need to have a full staff of collectors including technicians and substance abuse professionals (SAPs) to ensure proper procedures are followed.

Another option is to outsource some of the program functions to service agents. You could have your own MRO, SAPs and support staff but contract with others to perform the actual specimen collection. A third option is to outsource all of the program’s functions to a consortium or third-party administrator (TPA).

Pre-placement drug screens establish a foundation of safety and commitment of you, the employer, to the well being of your employees. Employers who demonstrate a commitment to safety will emphasize for the new employee the need for personal control both on and off the job.

For more information on HealthCare for Business’ DOT consortium, click here.  

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