If you work in the transportation industry, it’s crucial to follow the guidelines set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), particularly its drug testing program. This program is designed to ensure the safety of all road users, especially those who operate large commercial vehicles.
While the testing program has extensive resources and is tightly controlled, false positives and other issues are still possible. Because accuracy and reporting of results are extremely important to your continued ability to drive, testing positive on can be extremely problematic. So, you may be wondering if you have the option to request a retest.
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What Can Cause You to Fail a FMCSA Drug Test?
As a truck driver, there’s no way around reporting for and taking a FMCSA drug test. With that said, the procedure is tightly-controlled and regulated with the power of the federal government. So, when you do report for a test and give a sample, there are a number of ways that the result could come back positive:
- Detection of banned substances -This is the most common reason. The FMCSA tests for substances like marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP.
- Prescription medications – Some prescribed drugs can contain controlled or impairing substances. You must tell the MRO about them during testing.
- Not disclosing medications – Failing to mention your medications can result in a failed test. Honesty about your medical history is vital.
- Tampering with samples – Trying to alter your urine sample, like using synthetic urine or diluting it, can lead to failure.
- Refusing the test – If you refuse a required drug test, it counts as a failure. Compliance with testing rules is crucial.
- Chain of custody issues – Problems with documenting the handling and transfer of the urine sample can lead to a failed test.
- Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions or substances in your body might cause false-positive results. Provide relevant medical proof if needed.
- Environmental contamination – In rare cases, exposure to substances like secondhand marijuana smoke can result in a positive test. Explain your situation and provide evidence to the MRO if this happens.
Can You Request a Retest on an FMCSA Drug Test?
No matter what the reason is for a positive test result, regulations dictate that results are to be reported to either your employer or the FMCSA Clearinghouse. That said, the accuracy of your test results is extremely important to your status as compliant. The good news is that FMCSA regulations also allow for a retest. Here’s how that process works:
- Request for retest – You must express your desire for a retest to the MRO within a specific timeframe, usually within 72 hours of being informed of the positive result. This request should be made in writing.
- Split sample retest – Once you formally request a retest, the split sample, which is a separate portion of the original urine sample, is sent to a different laboratory for analysis. The split sample test is conducted independently and is used to confirm or refute the results of the initial test.
- Split sample result – The result of the split sample retest is considered final and binding. If the split sample test comes back negative, it will supersede the initial positive result, and no further action is taken. If it confirms the initial positive result, the positive result stands, and appropriate actions will be taken, including potential sanctions against you and your license.
So, while you’re able to request a retest under FMCSA regulations, you’ll need to be sure that you’re able to live with the results. Thus, it’s important to be aware of what you can do after being retested.
What Can You Do After Being Retested Under FMCSA Regulations?
Once you finish the FMCS retesting process, there are a number of potential outcomes and scenarios you may face. Depending on the results, you may need to take any of the following actions:
- Medical issues – If the reason for the retest failure is related to a medical condition, you may need to seek medical treatment and obtain a medical certificate that meets FMCSA standards. Once you are medically fit to drive, you can retake the test.
- Substance abuse issues – If you fail a retest due to substance abuse issues, you may be required to complete a substance abuse program and pass drug and alcohol tests as part of your rehabilitation. Once you have successfully completed the program and met all FMCSA requirements, you can reapply for your CDL.
- Reapply for your Commercial Drivers License (CDL) – In many cases, after addressing the underlying issues that led to the retest failure, you can reapply for your CDL or certification. Be prepared to provide any necessary documentation, complete the required paperwork, and pay any applicable fees.
- Follow rehabilitation requirements – Comply with any rehabilitation or treatment programs mandated by the FMCSA or your employer. This may involve drug testing, counseling, and ongoing monitoring.
- Stay sober – Once you regain your CDL, it’s crucial to stay clean, maintain sobriety, and comply with FMCSA drug testing requirements. Random drug tests may be conducted periodically, so ongoing compliance is essential.
- Appealing the results – If you believe there was an error or an issue with the drug testing process that led to a false positive result, you may have the option to challenge the results through appropriate legal channels.
- Seek support – Substance abuse is very challenging to endure. Seek support from friends, family, or support groups to help you on your journey to recovery.
Keep in mind that FMCSA rules are quite strict regarding drug testing, and breaking these rules can greatly impact your career. It’s crucial to treat any positive drug test result seriously and address the root causes.
Fleet Drug Testing Has You Covered
Working in the transportation industry has a lot of requirements, but none more important than complying with FMCSA regulations. At Fleet Drug Testing, we can make sure you have what you need when it comes to drug testing. All you’ll have to do is report, and we’ll handle the rest. Contact us today to get started.