It’s not surprising that truck drivers are under high pressure — they’re expected to deliver their merchandise quickly and on time to meet quota, deadlines, and promises made to consumers, barring bad traffic, weather, or other circumstances. This kind of stress can sometimes lead to drug or alcohol abuse, which in turn, makes it dangerous for them to be on the road with other drivers. So it stands to reason that the Department of Transportation would mandate drug and alcohol testing to be carried out by employers who fall under their jurisdiction. If you’re a smaller company (say with under 50 employees), it might be worth looking into joining a DOT drug and alcohol test consortium. It will allow you carry out the necessary testing required by the Department of Transportation, but under a larger pool of people.
Why are Drug Screenings or Alcohol Testing Services Necessary?
Drug or alcohol abuse can have negative effects on productivity, safety, and a company’s reputation. According to government studies, one out of six workers is facing an issue with drug abuse and in 2015, almost ten million urine drug tests showed positive in the United States. Drug users who hold jobs usually miss work an average of 20 times more than their peers who are drug-free. Furthermore, almost three-quarters of illicit drug users do work, but cause businesses in the United States to lose over $80 billion a year.
Depending on the drugs they’re taking, they can become violent or display erratic behavior while under the influence or coming down, which compromises the safety of the people they work with or serve. Furthermore, if a number of employees at a company — or a high ranking individual in a company — are outed for doing drugs or having a drinking problem, that reflects badly on the company. Consumers may lose trust or not shop there.
The American Management Association reports that over 60% of American employers started a drug testing program to make sure that employees were safe, that they were meeting state regulations, protecting the reputation of their business, and enforcing and producing a drug-free workplace.
What Kind of Drug Tests Can Be Administered?
Two common types of drug tests often administered by employers are a urine test and a hair follicle drug test. If you’re looking for short-term drug use (say, within the last five days or so), a urine test is the most accurate way to test. Many drugs stay in our body from anywhere from two to four days, though if you use marijuana regularly, it can be detected for as long as four weeks (or more) after you’ve taken your last hit.
However, a hair follicle drug test can detect drug use from 90 days ago, which makes it useful for random drug tests. Hair follicle tests often test for amphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine.
Other than urine tests and hair follicle tests, there are also saliva, perspiration, and blood tests available. Blood tests tend to be the most invasive (and expensive), and so that option is used less frequently.
How Does a DOT Drug and Alcohol Test Consortium Work?
A DOT drug and alcohol test consortium provides a way for smaller companies to comply with the necessary testing. Essentially, a DOT drug and alcohol test consortium is comprised of employees from multiple companies who enroll and can be randomly selected for a drug or alcohol test. After the random testing percentages get met, all companies in the consortium are considered in compliance. This is an especially good option for owner operators and takes out some of the hassle and confusion for small business owners when it comes to complying.
Furthermore, you won’t have to get testing done as frequently if you’re part of a consortium, you have a larger pool of employees to do testing from, and some places will offer after-hours testing or onsite testing.
If your business is required to have mandatory drug and alcohol testing, consider joining a consortium if you have a smaller pool of employees.