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How Long Is SAP Program?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 7:45 p.m.


How Long Is the SAP Program After Failing Drug Test?

“How long is the SAP program?” is a common question in the US trucking industry. The length of this follow-up testing program will vary based on recommendations from substance abuse professionals. The time frame for a program can range from twelve months to five years. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to provide an exact timeline. What is the DOT SAP Program?

What Is a DOT Return-to-Duty & Follow-Up DOT SAP Process?

Today, trucking companies and drivers must know how a standard SAP process works. This way, quick actions can be taken whenever a failed drug test occurs. The DOT Clearinghouse calculated over 11,000 positive results in its first two months of operation. This shows that many drivers must complete the SAP protocol and the DOT’s return-to-duty process. Otherwise, drivers are forbidden from returning to work. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

After a driver completes an SAP program, he or she must comply with continuous follow-up testing for at least twelve months. All commercial drivers must understand the SAP process to know what to expect. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

What Does DOT SAP Mean?

Every SAP determines how soon an employee can operate a regulated commercial vehicle. An SAP professional evaluates drivers who violate DOT drug and alcohol program regulations while determining proper education and treatment. Plus, an SAP also takes care of follow-up testing and aftercare processes. The key is for each trucking company to communicate with an experienced SAP professional. That's because the SAP will ensure all steps are taken toward recovery before allowing a driver to get behind the wheel. Also, visit Back to Basics in Handling Impaired Employees in the Workplace across the United States.

The SAP must also assess how long a driver should remain under close monitoring. In some cases, the suspended driver will need to receive additional training regarding vehicle safety. The decisions of each SAP can mean the difference between life and death for many people on our roads. Thus, every SAP must have substantial expertise.

How Much Do DOT SAP Programs Cost?

The cost of the SAP process is difficult to estimate, as it depends on numerous factors. This includes an initial SAP examination fee, an education program, and a DOT return-to-duty drug test. Plus, the follow-up testing program could last anywhere from 12 months up to 5 years, depending on the SAP's recommendation. Accurately calculating the cost can be challenging with so many variables in play. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

The SAP evaluation process typically carries a price tag of around $400-$500, while drug tests usually cost an average of $30-$60 each. This means that the minimum cost for the initial evaluation and subsequent follow-up testing program will likely be at least $700 in the first year —who pays this bill will depend on your company's policy. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

How Long Does the DOT SAP Program Last?

When participating in an SAP program, the timeframe to complete the program will vary depending on the individual's needs. Generally speaking, the program can be broken up into two parts: the time it takes to return to duty and the time necessary to complete follow-up tests. The amount of time for each piece depends on how tailored and comprehensive the person's plan is. Every participant receives an individualized plan that ensures optimal success. As such, estimating precisely how long it will take to complete an SAP program entirely varies from case to case—the importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

The SAP assessment and return-to-duty process is a long one, often taking anywhere from weeks to months to complete. It includes finding an appropriately qualified DOT SAP, undergoing the SAP evaluation, speaking with a physician if the driver believes that their medical prescription may have caused a false positive result in their drug test, completing an educational or treatment program, and having a follow-up examination by the SAP once this has been done, before finally being allowed to pass the return-to-duty drug test. Throughout this whole process , careful consideration must be taken, as safety should always be paramount. Also visit the Even with marijuana legalization, many workers are still subject to employment THC testing when driving commercial trucks.

For the first 12 months after returning to duty, the SAP must recommend a minimum of 6 unannounced observed drug tests. Beyond this initial period, however, the SAP may suggest stretching out follow-up testing for up to 5 years. If an individual fails or refuses any of these tests, it is necessary to begin the process again from the start. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

What Does “DOT Return-to-Duty Process” Mean?

Once a positive drug test result has been found, the employee must be immediately removed from any safety-sensitive functions. To return to duty, they must then complete a return-to-duty process. This begins with seeking out a qualified Substance Abuse Professional for an initial evaluation and potential recommendations for treatment or education programs. Following these, the employee can move on to completing another SAP evaluation. After this is done successfully, they must have an observed drug test before being allowed back into safety-sensitive duties. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

The employee can return to their safety-sensitive tasks after the DER receives confirmation of a negative drug test. However, the DER must implement a follow-up testing schedule after the second SAP evaluation. This schedule requires at least six unannounced observed drug tests within 12 months of returning to work, and could last up to five years, depending on the SAP's recommendation. These tests must be conducted for the employee to comply with workplace regulations.

What If I Fail or Refuse a Test?

Suppose a DOT-mandated safety-sensitive employee violates the Department of Transportation's substance abuse rules by refusing or failing a test. In that case, they will be removed from any job duties that could threaten public safety. They must then receive an evaluation from a qualified SAP who can provide suggestions on necessary education and treatment programs. After successfully completing these activities, the individual must pass another return-to-duty test before their safety-sensitive tasks can be resumed. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

Key Points: All About the DOT SAP Program

  • The SAP Program is administered by the US .
  • It was created to help employers in the transportation industry take care of drug and alcohol problems affecting drivers—Department of Transportation.
  • The key purpose of the SAP program is to ensure that drivers can safely perform their job duties without endangering themselves or others. What is Unified Carrier Registration?
  • A person who successfully completes a DOT SAP evaluation must first be cleared by a qualified SAP.
  • Each SAP will review any substance use disorder diagnosis and develop a customized return-to-duty plan.
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