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RTD Test

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 8:31 p.m.


The RTD test/Return to Duty test is often used when an employee violates a company's drug and alcohol policy. The employee must be immediately removed from duty if the violation occurs in a safety-sensitive role, such as oil and gas, construction, or transportation. The consequences can vary for those not in these kinds of positions. The RTD test assesses if it's safe for them to return to their job duties. It evaluates whether an individual has abstained from substance use since their violation and can help companies make decisions about allowing employees back into the workplace. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

For companies that adhere to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, particular rules govern their federally mandated workforces. Drug testing is a necessary part of the process. Return-to-Duty drug tests are required after an individual has tested positive for drugs, violated a drug rule, or breached an alcohol rule as per Federal guidelines. This ensures that workers are fit and safe to perform their duties per DOT standards. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

Rehabilitation Program & Drug Treatment Policies

An employee must be evaluated and complete any recommended treatment before taking an RTD test. The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) decides if the individual can return to work. The RTD test must be done under direct supervision to guarantee the accuracy of results. This means someone needs to monitor the entire process closely to ensure no manipulation occurs. Get the Facts about Positive DOT Drug Tests.

Unannounced follow-up tests are also a part of the program to ensure that drug use does not continue after treatment. For employees in safety-sensitive positions, at least six follow-up tests must be conducted within the first 12 months of their return to work. This further helps maintain a safe and secure working environment. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

If needed, the SAP program can require further testing and can extend this requirement for up to five years. DISA is supported by a professional team of Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrators (C-SAPA). The C-SAPA examination certification confirms that individuals responsible for administering drug tests possess the necessary competency in the field and have demonstrated their proficiency using proper credentials. What is the DOT SAP Program?

Are There Differences between the RTD and Pre-Employment Test?

Yes. Return-to-Duty tests are only activated once an employee has been found to have violated the drug and alcohol program. To administer the test, they must have completed the necessary steps of the return-to-duty process, including successfully finishing a recommended counseling program. RTD tests differ from pre-employment drug tests as they require direct observation. This means someone of the same sex will accompany the employee throughout the testing procedure to ensure its accuracy. 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?

What Is the FMCSA's Return To Duty Process?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a Return-to-Duty Process for commercial drivers who have failed or refused to take an alcohol or drug test. This process requires the driver to be evaluated by an SAP and meet specific criteria for successful program completion—the importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

An SAP must determine that the driver can safely operate a commercial vehicle, free from substance abuse issues, before they can return to duty. The FMCSA also requires any driver returning to duty following an alcohol or drug violation to complete a minimum of 60 days of follow-up testing and other requirements as determined by the SAP. Follow-up testing includes pre-employment drug and alcohol tests. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

How Many Follow-Up Tests Must Take Place?

The Department of Transportation requires that Substance Abuse Professionals conduct at least six tests over a year. The testing process can last up to five years, and all follow-up tests must be conducted under direct supervision. Depending on the company, some policies may differ, but meeting DOT standards is essential for compliance. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

Can a Follow-Up Test Replace Random Testing?

No, never. Random tests and follow-up tests are not interchangeable. Employees must remain subject to periodic random testing as required of all drivers and their individualized follow-up testing schedule. Direct observation is a requirement for only the follow-up test, so it cannot replace the random test. Therefore, employees must continue to abide by both protocols.

What Are Return-to-Duty Drug Tests?

Return-to-duty drug tests are a standard part of the workplace for many regulated employers with employees in safety-sensitive or security-sensitive positions. The DOT requires completion of this type of testing before an employee is allowed to resume their duties after completing a substance abuse treatment program. Non-regulated, private-sector companies may also choose to implement return-to-duty drug testing as part of their policies if they decide to give someone another chance. Such testing is not mandatory, though, for these kinds of employers. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

When is a Return-to-duty Test required in trucking?

For individuals in the trucking industry, it's crucial to know when a return-to-work exam is necessary. This is a standard part of the job for all drivers, but the requirements differ depending on your location and the type of goods you transport. Also, visit the website link to learn more information.

Generally, a return-to-duty test is compulsory following a significant infringement or if there is reason to believe that the driver may have been operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In certain states and cities, it's also legally mandated, making it vital to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your particular region. Failure to pass a return-to-duty test could result in losing your employment, highlighting the importance of staying informed about current policies.

What Is a Drug and Alcohol Education and Treatment Program?

The SAP will refer the employee to a professional and report the assessment results that led to the treatment plan. Depending on their evaluation, they may be recommended for educational programs, partial or complete inpatient treatments, and outpatient therapy sessions regarding drugs and alcohol abuse. Must visit the website link to learn more information.

These courses and treatments can help employees understand how drugs and alcohol affect them and help them develop healthier habits. By taking part in these courses, employees can gain insight into how addiction works, which can lead to better self-care and long-term sobriety. You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees who drive for you working.

What Is a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Evaluation?

An SAP is required to conduct a face-to-face substance abuse assessment. This evaluation must provide a comprehensive look into your drug or alcohol-related issues as well as an actionable plan for treatment and education before returning to any commercial driving and safety-sensitive duties. After the evaluation, a written report outlining the post-evaluation recommendations will be sent directly to your designated employer representative (DER).

What is the SAP-specified treatment and education plan?

If you want to return to driving a commercial vehicle, you'll need to successfully complete any treatment and education plans specified by your Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). That said, your employer is not obligated to cover the cost of these SAP evaluations or treatment plans. Payment for this process falls within the jurisdiction of existing management-labor agreements and health care benefits. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointed Violations?

What Is the Follow-up SAP Evaluation?

Once you have fulfilled all the requirements of your treatment and education plan, your SAP will conduct a follow-up evaluation to check if you are eligible to take the Return-to-Duty test. This face-to-face review is essential for safely returning to commercial driving. The SAP will also provide a written report outlining your completed plan and their "fitness for duty" determination. However, even with a positive assessment from an SAP or Medical Review Officer (MRO), it is up to your employer whether they allow you back on the job. Ultimately, they decide to make. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.

How Does the Follow-up Drug & Alcohol Testing Process Work?

Your legal status to drive is restored after a negative return to the duty test result. However, the DOT requires your SAP to schedule at least six drug and alcohol tests over 12 months, which may continue for up to five years. Each follow-up test must be completed under direct observation. This is the case no matter who you work for during this period. Remember that changing employers won’t make this testing schedule go away! Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker.

Summary: The Basics of an RTD Test in the Trucking Industry

  • An RTD Test, also known as a Random Drug Test, is typically used in trucking industries to ensure that all drivers are clean from any prohibited substances.
  • Generally, the test results take about 15 minutes for the driver to receive.
  • The test takes a saliva sample and runs it through an RTD testing machine. This machine will then compare the sample with a standard list of drugs and determine whether or not there are traces of prohibited substances in the model. Visit BOC-3.

If the RTD testing machine detects any trace amounts of illegal drugs in the saliva sample, it will register as positive on the test result sheet. In this case, the employer will need to investigate further and decide what action must be taken.

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