Drug & Alcohol Testing Penalties Are No Joke - Here Are the Fines You Could Face

Sure, as a DOT-regulated company, you know you should have a drug and alcohol testing process as well as a written workplace policy in place.

But do you know how many potential drug and alcohol violations you could be committing right now? If you don’t have the right drug testing management program, the short answer is a lot.

Let’s take a look at five of the top FMCSA drug and alcohol testing violations and their penalties in more detail so you can ensure you’re not slipping up on your compliance efforts.

Failing to implement a drug/alcohol testing program, 382.115(a)

Starting with the most basic regulation under this category, you need to have a drug and alcohol testing program. According to the FMCSA’s Analysis and Information Online database, 3,074 violations of this regulation occurred from 2018 through this year. The highest penalty for this violation was $12,010, which was given to a carrier in April 2022.

Having a third-party administrator (like Foley) take care of it for you not only fulfills your compliance requirement but also makes it easier for all parties involved. We’ll provide you with a DOT-compliant written policy, a completely online platform to schedule and manage test appointments, and the most up-to-date version of the Custody and Control Form (CCF) required for drug tests.

Using a driver before receiving a pre-employment drug test result, 382.301(a)

No matter how eager they are to start or how badly you need another rig on the road, you can’t put any employee in the driver’s seat until they have passed their pre-employment drug test. 8,257 violations of this regulation have been reported by the FMCSA in the past four years. In May 2022, a carrier was fined $15,410, the highest penalty recorded in the FMCSA database for this violation so far.

Foley’s drug and alcohol consortium makes scheduling pre-employment drug tests a breeze. With over 12,000 collection sites across the country, your prospective employees can find a location that works best for them. Plus, you’ll be alerted as soon as their results are ready so you can expedite the hiring process.

Failing to do random alcohol tests at the applicable annual rate, 382.305(b)(1)

You probably know you need to do random drug testing on all of your drivers, but what about random alcohol testing? This violation has accounted for 3,663 of the total violations found by the FMCSA over the past four years. A carrier was fined a hefty $22,620 in November 2021 for this violation.

Foley’s comprehensive drug and alcohol testing software helps fulfill your random testing requirements. Whenever a driver needs one, you’ll be notified, and you can schedule it directly in the Foley platform from any electronic device. You’ll never have to second-guess if all your drivers completed their random tests or face an adverse fine like the carrier mentioned above did!

Using a driver with a .04 alcohol level, 382.201

Perhaps the scariest of the violations we’ve mentioned so far, using a driver who is under the influence is simply unacceptable – both to the DOT as well as law enforcement everywhere.  A manufacturing company that was fined $11,720 in October 2021 after being cited for this violation.

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You may not be aware that your driver is operating under the influence, but at that point, it’s already too late. It’s much better to be safe than sorry by having a solid anti-drug and alcohol policy for your workplace, as well as an intervention plan in the event of this unfortunate situation. This is also where random alcohol testing comes into play. It can make a huge difference in the safety of your drivers and everyone they share the road with.

Failing to conduct a pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse, 382.701(a)

By now you should know you need to run pre-employment queries on every driver in the FMCSA Clearinghouse before they can begin working for you. These queries show detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record.

From 2018 through this year, the FMCSA has reported 6,742 of these violations in their database. In May 2022, a carrier was fined $4,180 for committing this violation.

Pre-employment queries are full queries, which means they require driver consent before you can run them. Foley’s Clearinghouse services can help clear the air with any query confusion you may have. Even if you haven’t registered for the Clearinghouse yet (which we hope you have), we can help you.

It’s also worth mentioning that a record of all queries must be kept on file and may need to be produced during an audit. The Foley platform will store all driver queries so you can easily present them to an auditor.

Violations Don’t Have to Be Your Fate

Committing any of these drug and alcohol violations is a serious offense in the eyes of the DOT. And these aren’t even all the possible violations and penalties your company could be held responsible for if you’re not following DOT compliance regulations!

Here is a complete list of the top drug and alcohol violations and fines real companies had to pay out of their pockets after they were cited for them.

Remember – if you need help with your DOT compliance and don’t want to end up like these carriers, turn to Foley!