At Fleet Drug Testing, our professionals can make sure you and your company meet all DOT regulations when it comes to drug testing and reporting. We can find testing locations near you in Alaska, whether your route takes you through Juneau or Anchorage. Contact us today to get started or to learn more about our programs.
What DOT Regulations Are There in Alaska?
Although it’s the largest state in the country, Alaska doesn’t have the same infrastructure as the contiguous 48 states. Still, Alaska has a bustling transportation industry that moves goods across vast terrain to serve the local population–but it is tightly regulated by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT).
Aside from regulations involving licensing and time spent on the road, one of the biggest sets of DOT regulations centers around drug and alcohol testing. Specifically, the DOT has federal authority to institute and oversee a drug and alcohol testing program for all “safety-sensitive” employees in the industry.
The program involves testing in the following intervals:
- Pre-employment – The first time you’ll be drug tested is before you’re even hired, being required to pass a drug test before you can start working.
- Random – A certain percentage of safety-sensitive employees have to submit random drug tests throughout the calendar year. Currently, drug testing is set at 50% and alcohol testing is set at 10%.
- Post-accident – After an accident where there’s significant vehicle damage or an injury, the employees involved will have to be drug tested.
- Return-to-duty – After testing positive on a previous test, you or any other employee will have to pass a test in the future before your safety-sensitive duties are restored and you can resume working.
- Reasonable suspicion – If a supervisor or trained Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) has reason to believe that you or another employee is under the influence or is using drugs, they can request that you take a drug test.
While being drug tested can in fact be a bit stressful, considering that your job depends on the results, you have the benefit of knowing ahead of time when you’ll be tested. Thus, the results are largely in your control. Still, it’s important to know what the procedure is like.
Guidelines for DOT Testing in Alaska
The DOT drug testing initiative ensures that employees get tested at certified locations throughout the state. These places must follow strict guidelines to comply with regulations and ensure accurate test results. Here are some key guidelines for DOT drug testing in Alaska:
- Chain of custody – Alaska mandates stringent chain-of-custody procedures for DOT drug testing. Every step in the collection, handling, and transportation of specimens must be meticulously documented to uphold the integrity of the testing process.
- Testing methods – While the predominant DOT drug test in Alaska involves urine testing, alternative methods like saliva testing may be employed under specific circumstances.
- Medical Review Officer (MRO) – Employers are obligated to appoint a licensed Medical Review Officer (MRO) to oversee the testing process and interpret results. The MRO must meet the qualifications outlined by the DOT.
- Employee notification – Written notification of rights and responsibilities regarding DOT drug testing is mandatory for employees. Additionally, they must be informed about the potential consequences of a positive drug test result.
What is looked for?
Not only are there strict protocols for testing under DOT regulations, every test is looking for certain substances. Currently, the DOT-testing panel looks for five drugs:
Again, the procedure of a DOT drug test is heavily regulated with all of the power of the federal government behind it. Thus, trying to get around the regulations or tamper with your sample makes the potential consequences equally heavy for you or your employer.
What Options Do You Have If You Fail a DOT Drug Test?
Being a safety-sensitive employee comes with a lot of benefits, but having to be drug tested as part of your daily life can certainly seem like a drawback. With that said, failing a drug test can leave you with limited options in the aftermath. So, if this happens, here’s a few things you can do:
- Review policies – Check your employer’s drug testing policy. Some companies have clear procedures for handling failed drug tests, including potential disciplinary actions or termination.
- Look over the test results – If you believe there is an error in the test results, you may request a retest. However, this option is typically subject to specific procedures and may not be applicable in all situations.
- Talk with the MRO – The MRO plays a crucial role in interpreting drug test results. If you have a legitimate medical explanation for a positive result, provide necessary documentation to the MRO during the review process.
- Get help if you need it – In some cases, you may want to try rehabilitation programs or your employer may have you complete a substance abuse program as a condition for continued employment.
- Know the consequences – Failing a DOT drug test can have severe consequences, including suspension, termination, or restrictions on your ability to work in safety-sensitive positions regulated by the DOT.
So, failing a DOT drug test is far from ideal, but you’re not without options. Most importantly, there are avenues for help with drug use if you need it, and you should take every opportunity to do so. However, if you believe a mistake was made, you can even request a retest and hopefully, lead to a negative result.
Take Control Of Your Drug Testing Needs in Alaska
At Fleet Drug Testing, we have everything you need when it comes to compliance with the DOT’s drug testing program. We can find convenient locations in Alaska, put testing programs in place for your company, and various other options that your business needs. Don’t fall victim to non-compliance. Contact us today to learn more or to get started.