The DOT has issued a rulemaking, which affects the way drug and alcohol testing is conducted. Go here to review the changes.
Most of it is inside baseball, which has no bearing on motor carriers or nearly all drivers. However, there is one significant change. Starting 8/25/08, all return-to-duty tests and follow-up tests must be done under direct observation. Return-to-duty tests, and follow-up tests must be done after a driver fails a drug test. If a driver has to do these tests, the collector will now stand in the bathroom with him, and watch him urinate. Directly.
Direct observation used to be required only if there had been evidence of an alterated sample, but this ups the ante. This confirms what I’ve thought about the SAP procedure and return to duty process for some time now. The process is less about education, and more about punishment. Basically, DOT is going to make it so painful for a driver if he flunks a drug test, that he’ll think twice about doing it again. Not totally unlike the DUI procedures in this country. Casual drug users may change their behavior, largely because the process to get back in the good graces of the government is such a giant pain in the rear.
DOT makes you take a number of weeks off while you go to treatment. They make you take numerous follow-up tests, all of which the driver is probably paying for. Now, they are going to humiliate and embarrass the driver, as well. Bottomline is, if you’re a CDL driver, just say no. Or DOT is going to make it hurt.