Compliance Corner: Leadership Decisions

By Jamie Bork GSN Director of Compliance

§ 382.305: Random Testing: The Use of Alternate Selections within this DOT regulation is often misunderstood (Motor Carrier)

An employer may select alternates via self-administered program or through a Third Party Administrator (TPA) within its random testing program. However, the employer must not test an alternate simply because “John was not here today”.

An alternate selection is to be used in the (unlikely) event that the primary selected person is no longer available for testing or is not expected to return before the end of the selection period. It should be noted that the selection period (or testing period) may be weekly, monthly, quarterly, but always extends until the end of the current calendar year – with no carry-over into the next calendar year. Therefore (assuming you are selecting quarterly), if a primary selected person is chosen in the 1st quarter (January-March), is on vacation the day the DER expected to have him tested, and is not due to return from vacation until April 4th…What to do??? An alternate selection should be used and you must document why this action was taken. However, if the primary selected person returns to work on or by March 31st (last day of the testing period) the individual is to be tested.

As taken directly from the DOT’s Guidance: Is it permissible to select alternates for the purpose of complying with the Random Testing regulations? Guidance: Yes, it is permissible to select alternates. However, it is only permissible if the primary driver selected will not be available for testing during the selection period because of long-term absence due to layoff, illness, injury, vacation or other circumstances. In the event the initial driver selected is not available for testing, the employer and/or C/TPA must document the reason why an alternate driver was tested. The documentation must be maintained and readily available when requested by the Secretary of Transportation, any DOT agency, or any State or local officials with regulatory authority over the employer or any of its drivers.

Click here for the full detail of the DOT regulation and expanded guidance.

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