Archive for the ‘QUESTION OF THE WEEK’ Category

Can a person tell if marijuana is in a brownie or cookie if you ate it?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The food product may taste a little strange depending on the amount added and to what is added. Brownies have so much chocolate they mask the taste. You would not feel the euphoric effects. That occurs when you smoke the marijuana. It would be detected in the urine.

What happens if someone uses an old DOT form after November 30th?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

If the collector uses a non-Federal form or an expired CCF for the test, this flaw may be corrected through the procedure set forth in Sec. 40.205(b)(2), provided that the collection testing process has been conducted in accordance with the procedures of this part in an HHS-certified laboratory. During the period of October 1, 2010-November 30, 2011, you are not required to cancel a test because of the use of an old CCF. Beginning December 1, 2011, if the problem is not corrected, you must cancel the test.

How are drug test problems corrected?

If the problem is the use of a non-Federal form or an expired Federal form, you must provide a signed statement (i.e., a memorandum for the record). It must state that the incorrect form contains all the information needed for a valid DOT drug test, and that the incorrect form was used inadvertently or as the only means of conducting a test, in circumstances beyond your control. The statement must also list the steps you have taken to prevent future use of non-Federal forms or expired Federal forms for DOT tests. For this flaw to be corrected, the test of the specimen must have occurred at a HHS-certified laboratory where it was tested consistent with the requirements of this part.

Do SAP assessments need to be done in person or can they be done over the phone?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

As a SAP, you are charged with: making a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation to determine what assistance is needed by the employee to resolve problems associated with alcohol and/or drug use. Referring the employee to an appropriate education and/or treatment program. Conducting a face-to-face follow-up evaluation to determine if the employee has actively participated in the education and/or treatment program and has demonstrated successful compliance with the initial assessment and evaluation recommendations. (49 CFR Part 40.291)

Can a collector mark through pre-printed employer, MRO, collection site, and/or laboratory information on the CCF if that information is not accurate for a particular collection?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

•Yes. When the collector has no “blank” CCFs and the CCFs on-hand contain inaccurate pre-printed employer, MRO, collection site, and/or laboratory information, the collector is permitted to “line through” the inaccurate information and insert legibly the proper information.
•The likelihood of a collection site having CCFs with inaccurate information increases with unexpected collection events (e.g., employee arrives unannounced for post-accident testing).
•If the specimen will be sent to a laboratory different than the one pre-printed on the available CCF, it becomes important for the collector to modify the CCF so that it reflects the name and address of the laboratory to which the specimen will actually be sent. It is also important for the collector to line through any pre-printed billing code and insert the appropriate one, if it is available.
•Finally, laboratories should honor collection site requests to provide an adequate number of “blank” CCFs for use during unexpected collection events. It is important to note that the DOT permits overprinting or pre-printing of CCFs in an effort to streamline the entire testing process, not to limit the distribution of the forms to collection sites.

Can a driver be qualified if he is taking Methadone?

Friday, May 20th, 2011

No. CMV drivers taking Methadone cannot be qualified.

What information is an employer required to provide concerning SAP services to an employee who has a DOT drug and alcohol regulation violation?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

An employer must provide to each employee (including an applicant or new employee) who violates a DOT drug and alcohol regulation a listing of SAPs readily available to the employee and acceptable to the employer, with names, addresses, and telephone numbers. The employer cannot charge the employee any fee for compiling or providing this list. The employer may provide this list or provide it through a C/TPA or other service agent.

What problems always cause a DOT drug test to be cancelled?

Friday, April 29th, 2011

When the laboratory discovers a “fatal flaw” during its processing of incoming specimens the laboratory will report that the specimen has been “Rejected for Testing” (with the reason stated).  The MRO must always cancel such a test.

The following are “fatal flaws”:
(1) There is no printed collector’s name and no collector’s signature;
(2) The specimen ID numbers on the specimen bottle and the CCF do not match;
(3) The specimen bottle seal is broken or shows evidence of tampering (and a split specimen cannot be redesignated); and
(4) Because of leakage or other causes, there is an insufficient amount of urine in the primary specimen bottle for analysis and the specimens cannot be redesignated.

An employee had a breathalyzer, and blood alcohol test, following a 9 panel urine plus alcohol test. Why would only the urine test come back positive?

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Urine testing (ETG testing) can detect the presence of alcohol in the body roughly up to 80 hours after consumption of alcohol, well over the detection time available via blood or breath testing.

What happens when an employer receives a report of a dilute specimen?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

As the employer, if the MRO informs you that a positive drug test was dilute, you simply treat the test as a verified positive test. You must not direct the employee to take another test based on the fact that the specimen was dilute.
If the MRO informs you that a negative test was dilute, take the following action:
(1) If the MRO directs you to conduct a recollection under direct observation (i.e., because the creatinine concentration of the specimen was equal to or greater than 2mg/dL, but less than or equal to 5 mg/dL (see §40.155(c)), you must do so immediately.
(2) Otherwise (i.e., if the creatinine concentration of the dilute specimen is greater than 5 mg/dL), you may, but are not required to, direct the employee to take another test immediately.
Such recollections must not be collected under direct observation, unless there is another basis for use of direct observation. You must treat all employees the same for this purpose. For example, you must not retest some employees and not others. You may, however, establish different policies for different types of tests (e.g., conduct retests in pre-employment situations, but not in random test situations). You must inform your employees in advance of your decisions on these matters.

What are the DOT random testing rates for 2011?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Department of Transportation has recently published the testing rates for 2011. The rates can be found on the DOT website at