White semi truck, commercial truck drivers needs substance abuse professional evaluation


A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) in a clinician certified to conduct evaluations per the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines.  The SAP is not an advocate for the employer or the employee.  Rather, their function is to protect the public’s interest in safety.  An employee is referred for a SAP assessment after refusal to or has a postive drug and/or alcohol test result.  It is not the responsibility of the SAP to establish whether a substance use issue exists. This has already been determined by different tests. This can be a verified positive drug test as well as a refusal to test (including a substituted or adulterated specimen). A breath alcohol test of .04 or higher, or a violation of the prohibitions on the use of alcohol or drugs under a DOT agency regulation are also determining factors.

Who requires this testing?

The DOT agencies that require such testing are as follows:

  • FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • FAA – Federal Aviation Administration
  • FRA – Federal Railroad Administration
  • FTA – Federal Transit Administration
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 
  • U.S. Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security)

How do I return to work?

Presently, we most often conduct these evaluations for truck drivers under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  In any event, as the driver, these are the steps you should follow to return to duty:

  • Request your SAP; in this case, Dr. Lynn Luna Jones
  • Complete your initial SAP assessment
  • This is usually about a one-hour interview
    • The Substance Abuse Professional specifically provides your employer with recommendations for education/treatment.  This may include:
      • Inpatient treatment
      • Partial inpatient treatment
      • Intensive outpatient treatment
      • Outpatient treatment
      • Alcohol or drug education
    • Then, after you complete the education/treatment, the SAP re-evaluates the driver to determine compliance and establish a follow-up testing plan
  • You will be sent for a return-to-duty test by your employer once determined you are eligible.
  • As a result, a negative test means you can now perform safety-sensitive functions
  • Any employer that employs you must then follow the follow-up testing plan as specified by the Substance Abuse Professional
  • The Clearinghouse retains this information for five years from the date of violation or until the successful completion of the follow-up testing plan, whichever is later
  • The only information submitted to the Clearinghouse by the SAP is the date of the initial SAP assessment coupled with the date the driver is eligible for return-to-duty testing 
    • The Clearinghouse does not keep records of the driver’s education/treatment plan and follow-up testing plan
Lynn A. Luna Jones, Ph.D. (Independent medical evaluation) ABPP
Lynn A. Luna Jones, PhD, ABPP

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