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DOT SAP Program

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 1:41 p.m.


Substance Abuse Professional Guide: How Long Is The DOT SAP Program?

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Once a truck driver fails their drug test, they cannot hit the road again until they have proven they are clean and healthy. For this purpose, they have to follow the procedures put in place by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and complete the return-to-duty process. How To Pass Dot Drug Test .

The return-to-duty process generally lasts long term as the driver has to do follow-up tests for the next 12 months.

If you failed your drug tests, then you must know that you will have to follow the return-to-duty process strictly, and you won't be cleared until you have completed your tests for the next twelve months. Must visit BOC-3 Filing.

It doesn't matter whether you are an independent truck driver or a trucking company owner of Trucking Authority Packages .

You need to understand the importance of the SAP program and how it works. Unfortunately, most employers and truck drivers are not adequately familiar with the SAP program, despite over 10,000 drivers failing their drug test yearly. Understanding and following the SAP process properly is crucial for everyone's safety; no driver must take it lightly. Checklist of

What is the DOT SAP Program?

To understand the DOT SAP program, we first need to understand who an SAP is and what exactly they do. SAP stands for Substance Abuse Professional and is the title given to a person who evaluates drivers who have violated the drug and alcohol regulations and makes recommendations put in place by the Department of Transportation. What is UCR registration?

A substance abuse professional SAP evaluates the driver after getting familiar with their case and recommends the kind of rehabilitation they need.

The SAP professional will give recommendations concerning education treatment to become aware of the dangers of driving under the influence. How do you obtain an MC Number ?

Once you have been assigned an SAP, they can decide when you can go back and drive your vehicle.

It doesn't matter whether you drive a school bus or a train; you will need an SAP to clear you before you can get behind the wheel again. Please also visit DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement .

The DOT-regulated SAP program refers to the process in which the driver has to cooperate with their SAP and work on their substance usage.

It is a road to the recovery process that helps you get your driver's license reinstated and also helps you become a more responsible driver.

Cost of A DOT SAP Program

The SAP program cost can vary from person to person as it depends on several different factors. You have to pay for specific exercises throughout the process, which include:

  • Initial examination fee
  • Cost of education program
  • Return-to-duty test by DOT
  • Several other follow-up tests to be done throughout the process

The estimated cost a driver sends on their SAP program is hard to predict because the process can last for up to five years for some people.

It also depends on SAP's recommendation and is different for every driver. However, if you take out an average, you can expect to spend around $700 for the first year. It can sometimes cost as low as $450 or as high as $1000. Each drug test cost ranges from $35 to $60 and depends entirely on where you are getting it tested from. Also, visit Driver Qualification Files .

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Length of the DOT SAP Program

If you are looking for an absolute answer to how long the SAP Program can last, you will not find any right answer. Check out DOT week 2021 tips.

The DOT SAP program doesn't have a defined time limit and depends entirely on the person who is attending the program.

For some drivers, the program will finish within a year, but it could last for multiple years for others. You can divide the program time into two different parts:

  1. Time is taken to return to duty
  2. The follow-up programs take time

The first step is rather shorter as it involves finding a DOT SAP and going through the evaluation process.

It is necessary for the driver so that they can go back to dot safety-sensitive functions. The driver has to cooperate with the SAP throughout this step and follow their guidelines. This will also include the time you will spend getting the education prescribed by your SAP. Know more about Motor Carrier ID versus DOT License Comparison.

Once all that is done, you will be required to take tests after regular intervals.

Now, this is the part of the process that makes it lengthy. Depending on how the SAP evaluates you, you will have to do follow-up tests for 12 months or multiple years. However, you can resume your duty throughout that and won't have to dedicate much time to the SAP program. How to get a TEXAS Dot number .

Officially, an SAP program lasts for six drug tests, all unannounced and taken at regular intervals throughout the first 12 months.

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They can also recommend follow-up test programs lasting up to five years. However, if the driver fails a test even once throughout the procedure, they will have to start everything all over again. When to Update Your MCS-150

It is strictly recommended that you take precautions if you are going through an SAP program and avoid any sort of mishaps to ensure that you don't have to repeat the entire procedure again. Learn here about USDOT vs MC Number Check.

Understanding the DOT Return-To-Duty Process

As the name suggests, the return-to-duty process is a process through which a driver can lean back into their job and start driving again. Once you have got your first positive result, you will have to do the following:

  • Removing the driver from safety-sensitive right away
  • Get in touch with a qualified SAP to begin the initial evaluation
  • Admit to an education or treatment program recommended by SAP
  • Once the SAP has completed the review and is positive, do another test for return-to-duty

If the driver fails the test again, they will be put back on the safety-sensitive list and will have to repeat the process again. Contact us to learn about MC Number Insurance Requirements .

Steps for DOT Return-To-Duty Process

Responding to DOT Volition

First, you must respond to the DOT violation immediately and take all the necessary actions. As an employer, you must remove your driver from all the safety-sensitive functions and put them on hold for now. How To Request the DOT PIN Number .

Choosing an SAP

The next thing you need to do is make a list of qualified SAP available to your driver so that they can choose the one they are confident about. When you show the list to the driver, no fee is charged for that process. Check out the DOT Authority Package .

Substance Abuse Professional Evaluation

The driver then meets with the Substance Abuse Professional they have chosen and starts working on their evaluation. Keep in mind; that the employer is not bound to pay for their driver's SAP evaluation. However, if they see it suitable, they can pay on behalf of the driver. How do you get the USDOT number ?

Completing Treatment/Education

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As mentioned above, to complete the Return-To-Duty process, the driver has to complete an SAP-advised treatment follow-up testing or education program. The SAP will evaluate the driver and will recommend them programs keeping their condition and budget in mind.

If the driver is unhappy with the suggested program, they can share reasons with their SAP and work things out. However, if the SAP deems the program necessary, then the driver must complete it to move to the next stage—the Complete DOT Audit Checklist .

SAP Evaluation 2

After the driver completes the recommended program, they will have to undergo a second evaluation. The SAP will see the program's results and will do another review after meeting with the driver. The US federal government suspended the FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) rules.

If your evaluation report is positive, SAP will recommend removing the driver from the safety-sensitive functions list and push you toward the next step. However, if the SAP is not satisfied with your evaluation, they can ask you to work more on yourself, and you might also have to participate in more treatment or educational programs. Also, check out the FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule .

How Long Before You Get a Report

Once the SAP has given the driver the green flag, they must make an official report. If you fail to get an official report from the SAP, the evaluation didn't happen, and you are not on your way to resume job functions. Visit also IFTA Sticker Registration .

The SAP will mention the programs you have completed or are still taking in the report.

They will also write about your drug violation and what tests you must do in the coming months. Per the rules, you must take six unannounced tests within 12 months. The drug and alcohol testing process can last for as long as five years, depending on your results. Testing and aftercare included. Do you know how to register for a California DOT number?

The SAP is required to provide the report directly to the employer. Know about the basics of farm exemptions .

Return-To-Duty Test

Once the report has been created, the driver can return to duty after completing a final drug test. This test is usually referred to as a return-to-duty test, and if it comes back positive, the driver can resume their job.


Even when the driver is cleared, the employer must monitor them closely and ensure they don't repeat the same mistake. This includes taking random tests and time and ensuring nothing fishy is happening. New York Highway Use Tax Registration

The tests can happen unannounced, and the driver doesn't have the right to say no to these if they want to keep their program intact.

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