Last updated: December 4, 2023
If you’re mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) or another government entity, employee drug testing is required. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. If for any reason you choose to neglect your responsibility and an auditor walks through the door, you’re most likely going to be looking at some costly fines for non-compliance. According to the information posted by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, being non-compliant with the Drug & Alcohol Testing Program can cost you upwards of $28,250.
Fines vary on a case-by-case basis, but they add up pretty quickly. Some smaller companies might actually be put out of business.
How are fines calculated?
The DOT fines for non-compliance with the Drug & Alcohol Testing Program are calculated using specific guidelines. Inspectors base their final decision on three specific criteria.
The criteria are as follows:
- Was the issue one the violator was most likely aware of?
- How serious is the violation?
- What is the violator’s ability to pay?
The DOT has recently upped its maximum penalty for any violation from $55,000 up to $175,000! That’s quite an increase. It’s also a very good incentive to stay on the up and up. Non-compliant companies also risk becoming subject to civil penalties. They range from warnings to suspensions and even revocation of operating authority is possible.
Taking safety seriously
By increasing the amounts of the fines for being found in non-compliance, the DOT is taking a stronger stance on how seriously it takes the responsibility of keeping our highways as safe as possible for all who travel on them.
The rules and regulations that are in place cover a wide variety of topics in addition to drug testing. They include everything from the number of hours that a driver may stay behind the wheel before being required to take a break to how often vehicle maintenance must be performed. Keeping meticulous records pertaining to following each rule and regulation keeps employers focused on safety.
Even the few who might be tempted to, oh, let’s say let routine maintenance fall to the wayside in order to save a few dollars on things that don’t seem overly pressing, for instance, are far less likely to risk falling out of compliance. DOT auditors have a way of showing up when least expected. Trust us when we say that if the paperwork isn’t in order, the heat is on.
Keep things rolling
Many employers of the safety-sensitive workforce work with a third party to take care of their DOT drug testing program. They know the drug testing rules and regulations inside out and some even include employee training when necessary. Medical Review Officers (MROs) are on staff and only laboratories approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are used.
If you choose to work with a mobile drug testing company—like ours, for instance—no need to search “drug testing near me” for the nearest facility. Say the word and we come to you anytime day or night. On-site drug testing saves you—and your employees—time. That goes double for your night crew by the way—maybe more. Because we can roll up on-site anytime day or night, they aren’t going to have to interrupt their normal sleep patterns. Those who get thrown off schedule when having to be up and about during normal business hours will rejoice.
No matter if you choose to do all your record-keeping yourself or work with a third party, it’s important not to fall into non-compliance with the DOT. It’s not just because you’ll be saving yourself from racking up costly fines, either.
The DOT created its safety protocol to make travel as safe as possible for everyone on the road. Those who choose not to follow it are proving that, overall, safety isn’t a top priority for them. Doing their part to keep others safe is a responsibility most employers would never dream of shirking and we, the people of America, thank them for it.