As the trucking industry continues to be highly competitive, more and more trucking companies are hiring drivers who abide by the rules and regulations set forth by DOT guidelines. Truck companies have seen that by hiring drivers who stick to the rules, they not only gain better drivers, they also help protect their company’s reputation and the safety of the public.
With the presence of drug abuse from drivers and the effects this has on their business, truck companies simply can’t risk a bad safety record. With a strong safety record, a trucking company can give themselves a big advantage over their competitors. And the best way to get a strong safety record is to hire DOT regulation-obeying drivers and have a good drug compliance program in place.
This is why it’s so important for trucking companies to focus on drug testing programs. But there are some challenges that many trucking companies face when implementing a drug testing program that’s compliant, effective, and supports a good return on investment. Some of those challenges are:
Stopping Drug Abuse Before It Begins
Under the DOT Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Program, the Safety Management System shifted from an occurrence-based model to a risk-based model. This risk-based model was designed to stop drug abuse before it begins.
Motor carriers are assigned a score in Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). These categories relate to several safety factors, including controlled substance and alcohol issues. When drivers have high BASIC scores, it can result in poor publicity for the trucking company, more frequent roadside inspections, higher insurance rates, and buyer wariness.
To help maintain a low BASIC score, trucking companies should implement an effective drug testing program that not only identifies drug and alcohol abuse, but also deters on-going use.
Having Faith In ROI On Safety Dollars
DOT regulations require truck drivers to take regular drug tests, which can include urine testing, blood testing, sweat testing, saliva testing, and hair testing.
Hair testing has proven to be effective, and many trucking companies have seen improved safety scores and a significant return on their investment from this type of drug testing. The problem is that hair testing is expensive, and therefore creates a financial challenge for small and mid-size trucking companies who may be hesitant to invest their limited safety dollars.
However, if smaller trucking companies fail to take advantage of hair testing—which is a drug screening that can’t be cheated on—they are giving an advantage to their competitors who do use more effective ways of testing.
Having An Effective DOT Compliant Drug Program
Once a truck driver is hired, DOT regulations require them to have drug screenings under a randomized schedule, after an accident, or if their employer has reasonable suspect to test them. If a trucking company fails to implement these drug screenings for their drivers, they are subject to fines beginning at $1,000 a day.
There are many trucking companies that simply don’t have the resources, experience, or knowledge of implementing and maintaining a strong drug testing program that lines up with the DOT guidelines. Companies like this should outsource a specialty company, such as Consortium Pool, to handle this for them to avoid fines, a ruined reputation, and driver/public endangerment.
By taking the extra step to use a professional drug screening company, a trucking company can have peace of mind that they are DOT compliant. They will gain access to a qualified Medical Review Officer, testing facilities that meet DOT requirements, and they can focus on their own business.
Consortium Pool offers training programs and DOT compliance programs to trucking companies who want to be DOT compliant. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in our services!