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November 3, 2020 E-Blast

Owner-Operators Must Register By Year End

An article in Tuesday’s “Overdrive” is a must-read for SAPs
If you are working with an owner/operator, make sure that they know that they must be registered on the Clearinghouse as an employer in addition to being registering as a driver.  All owner/operators must query themselves before the end of the year.  In January, FMCSA will be able to identify all owner/operators who did not conduct a query on themselves.
After January 6, fines can (and probably will) start.  A owner/operator who hasn’t registered and hasn’t conducted a query can be fined $2,500.
The Clearinghouse end of the month report for September shows that 145,805 employers have registered.  However, FMCSA knows that nationwide, there are more than half a million DOT employers.  Two-thirds of DOT employers haven’t even registered on the Clearinghouse yet.  Many SAPs have been experiencing an uptick in cases, thanks to the Clearinghouse.  Just wait!  Buckle your seatbelts!
Some of you have heard employers say (somewhat defiantly) that they don’t plan to register on the Clearinghouse.  You might want to warn them that fines can start in January.  This is a databased system, and DOT knows exactly who those employers are!

REMINDER: SAP office addresses must be bona fide

Please remember that any office address you list in your SAPlist profile MUST be a real and bona fide office address. You cannot list your private address or a McDonald's in the next city. 

There Are No False Positives in DOT Testing

There’s one more article that I suggest you read.  It appeared a few weeks ago in “Overdrive”.  This article was aimed at truck drivers.  It also discusses CBD, which continues to be a problem for many.
DOT employees like to say that their test result must have been a “false positive”, because they never used a drug.  As a SAP, you should NEVER believe that argument.  A specimen that is verified by an MRO as positive has been through two (TWO!) analytical processes in the laboratory.  The second process, the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) eliminates the possibility of a false positive. 
Please read this article for an explanation of why there can be no false positives.
A note:  The article mentions hair testing.  Don’t be confused by that.  Some large trucking companies do non-DOT hair testing, which can identify a driver who may have used marijuana and other drugs as far back as 90 days ago.  DOT doesn’t recognize hair testing.  If a driver has a pre-employment positive on a hair test, that isn’t a DOT violation, and it can’t be the basis for requiring a SAP return-to-duty process.

Drivers With Violations Are Having Trouble Finding a New Job

I hear frequent stories about employers who won’t hire a driver who has had a violation.  This used to be rare, but it is becoming more common. 
Here is the new, hard reality.  Employers can be picky about their hiring practices.  By refusing to hire a driver with a violation, they won’t have to pay for a return-to-duty test, and they won’t have to be responsible for overseeing and paying the cost of that driver’s follow-up testing plan.
That doesn’t mean you should set up simple follow-up plans.  (I have always said that 6 tests in 12 months is almost useless.)  On the other hand, some of you routinely set up 5-year follow-up testing plans.  That is great, and you should not change that standard.  Please be reminded that this entire regulation, cumbersome as it may be, is still about saving lives.
Over the last 8 months, thousands of drivers have lost jobs due to employers shutting down or cutting back.  Those drivers are out there, looking for work.  An employer can pick and choose.  When deciding between two drivers, one of them with a mandated follow-up testing plan, the other with a clean slate, it’s easy to understand why an employer would much rather hire the driver who has had no violation.
When you get the phone call (and some of you have) from a driver who tells you that he’s having trouble getting hired, there’s really not much you can say to help him.  DOT doesn’t require an employer to take a driver back.  It’s yet another consequence of drug use, and once he lands a job, it may cause him to think twice about using again.

SAPlist UREMINDER: SAPlist U For Your Continuing Ed Requirement

SAPlist U provides 12 hours of continuing education related to DOT's testing rules.  It is endorsed by EACC, NASW, and NBCC.  It’s online, convenient, and you can complete it at your own pace.

Go to SAPlist U Continuing Ed

Have questions? Need assistance?

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Until next time,

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Lee Mauk  | and SAPlist U
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