If you employee Commercial Drivers than your Manager and Supervisors need to know how to handle “Reasonable Suspicion” testing situations. If you have a Commercial Drivers License holder than you know that testing for suspected drug or alcohol use is a Department of Transportation and CMCSA requirement. That why this DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training is so important. It will teach your management team how to proceed when a reasonable suspicion for testing issue comes into play.
Reasonable Suspicion Training – Included Discussion Points:
- What is reasonable suspicion and why is it important for Commercial Drivers and their employers? (the most obvious one is that drugs and alcohol impairs driving abilities)
- What does Reasonable Suspicion testing allow the employer to accomplish:
- It allows managers to take action if they feel a driver is under the influence even if they don’t have hard evidence to prove it
- It allows the employer to take visual cues, like the employee’s behavior or appearance, to provide clues that a driver might be using or abusing drugs or alcohol
- By referring the employee for testing, it helps identify those employees who might need help, but also prevents the driver from getting behind the wheel where they might cause an accident
- The Reasonable Suspicion testing program also protects an employer or motor carrier from the potential of legal or financial liability, or, the lowering of their safety rating with FMCSA
- What are some areas that Managers might struggle with Reasonable Suspicion when it comes to employees, how to handle these situations, etc:
- It might lead to an employee being angry at the Manager for referring him or her for testing
- It might raise privacy issues or lead to the employee filing a complaint
- It might lead to future problems between the employee and their manager
- What happens after a reasonable suspicion determination has been made?
Other Topics Covered in this DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training:
- The above reasons are why implementing a Reasonable Suspicion training program with your managers is so important (that’s where this training comes in)
- What does the FMCSA specify about the types of observations that would lead to “reasonable suspicion determination” to send a driver for testing? (The FMCSA states that to meet the threshold of “reasonable suspicion”, a referral for testing must be based on “specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odors of the driver)
- What are some examples of things NOT to base a reasonable suspicion testing on? (an example would be you should never make a drug testing referral based on a “gut feeling” or “intuition” about an employee. Instead, your suspicion must be based on how that employee looks, acts, smells or talks)
- What are some other examples of a scenario where reasonable suspicion for alcohol or substance abuse might be indicated? These are called “specific” observations by the FMCSA:
- The employee is using breath mints all the time (not a dead giveaway by any means but it instead is a “clue”)
- The employee is laughing unexplainably or without cause
- The driver is talking fast, erratic, or isn’t making sense with their speech
- The driver might have an odor of alcohol or marijuana or other signs of drug abuse or alcohol abuse
- What are the best practices a Manager should follow when referring an employee for testing?
- How should managers document their suspicions when referring an employee for testing?
- What does contemporaneous mean when it comes to reasonable suspicion?
- Can or should you refer a driver for drug or alcohol testing if another employee states they observed them using? (No, because per FMCSA you have to see them for yourself, firsthand and in person, and also, they must be “contemporaneous” which is a judgement by the Manager/Employer about the facts of the driver and they way they look or act at the present time)
- What does “articulable” mean when it comes to DOT Reasonable Suspicion? (it means the Manager or Employer must be able to articulate exactly what they saw, heard, or smelled on the employee and put that documentation in writing when making the referral for testing)
- Are there Federal laws that “require” an employer to take action if they suspect their commercial driver has a problem or is under the influence? (Yes, the law requires the employer to refer the driver for immediate drug or alcohol test)
Key Points in This Reasonable Suspicion Training That Managers Need to Know and Learn:
- How can Managers learn to recognize signs of drug or alcohol use or abuse?
- What clues does an employee’s change in personality provide if any?
- What are some signs that a driver might be under the influence of alcohol? (since it is a depressant, alcohol users might appear drowsy, slur their speech, have difficulty with balance, etc)
- What are some signs that a commercial driver might be using drugs? (stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine increase the users metabolism so they might exhibit agitation, tremors, excessive talking, etc)
- How should Managers prepare to send a driver for reasonable suspicion testing? (They need to have a thorough knowledge of the Company’s drug & alcohol policy, and they need to be aware of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations)
- What is the reasonable suspicion process and why must it be followed?
- What is a “self admission” by an employee that they are using drugs or alcohol and what should the Manager do in that case?
- and much more
To keep a compliant and safe workplace your Managers and Supervisors need Reasonable Suspicion training. This helps keep the employer from liability, keeps the employee safe, and helps prevent alcohol or drug related accidents. This Reasonable Suspicion Training Video will teach your managers the ins and outs of this DOT requirement. Available as an English or Spanish speaking DVD or USB Stick, the runtime of the training is 16 minutes.
Reasonable Suspicion Training Video – Full Length Preview: