Owner operators in the DOT world are those single driver operators with their own DOT authority. In this video we will answer questions like:
A great deal of additional information for owner operators and DOT drug testing requirements can be found on the following pages on the National Drug Screening web site:
Here is the transcript of this video:
Joe Reilly President of National Drug Screening back at our video blog series. Today’s topic is for owner operators, those folks that own their own trucks and operate as an owner operator. We’re going to talk to you about your requirements to be in a drug testing consortium.
Owner Operators in the Trucking Industry
Today’s topic is for the owner operator; the truck driver who owns his own truck and operates under his own authority. It’s just one person, called an owner operator. And a lot of people are becoming owner-operators. There is a truck driver shortage throughout the United States and a lot of the big trucking companies are having trouble finding drivers, but we’re seeing almost every day we enroll new owner operators into our DOT drug and alcohol testing consortium.
What is a Drug testing Consortium for Owner Operators?
And as an owner operator, you have a requirement to have DOT drug and alcohol testing. You have a requirement to enroll into a DOT drug testing consortium. You have a requirement to register in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA Clearinghouse. I’m going to talk about those requirements for you in this video.
So, first off, you get your authority, you got your truck, you’re getting ready to start working, you need a pre-employment drug test. You should not be operating on the roads in the United States with your CDL in your commercial motor vehicle, 26,001 pounds or more, you should not be operating without a pre-employment drug test. You don’t need an alcohol test, you need a pre-employment drug test.
Next, you need to be enrolled in a drug and alcohol testing consortium. What is a drug testing consortium? It is when you work with a TPA or a Third-Party Administrator, a company that manages drug and alcohol testing programs, and they form a consortium which has you enrolled and other owner operators and maybe other small trucking companies into a group, and that group is subject to the random testing requirements of the United States Department Of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. And the testing is required for drugs at 50% annually. And for alcohol at 10% annually.
What are the DOT testing requirements for Owner Operators?
So, once you’re in the consortium, you might get selected for a random drug test and/or a random alcohol test. And once you’re notified that you’ve been selected, you’re required to go for that test right away. Immediately is what the regulation says.
Now people ask me all the time, what does immediately mean? And I say, well, you can look it up in the dictionary, but in my mind, it means right now. You need to figure it out. You need to get a drug test right now if that’s what you’ve been selected for.
Now, at National Drug Screening, we have a very large random testing consortium for owner-operators and other small drug testing companies. And if your name gets selected, well, we call you and we work with you to find a facility wherever you are, wherever you’re heading towards, to get you in that day to get your drug test done, or to get your alcohol test done. Whatever you need. So, we work with you to do that.
So, when you enroll in a consortium, you want to ask some questions. How do they operate? Are they professional? Do they answer the phone? Can they provide you guidance?
Now at some point in time after you got your operating authority, you’re going to get a call or an email from a DOT inspector. And they’re going to do what’s called a new entrance exam. You’re, you’re newly entered as a DOT operating authority. And there’s a whole bunch of stuff they’re going to cover with you about safety and about the vehicle and about hours of driving and things like that. And that’s not what we do, but they’re also going to ask you, did you have your pre-employment drug test. And we’re going to help you get that. Are you enrolled in a consortium? And we’re going to provide documentation for that.
In fact, if you call us today, and you enroll in our consortium today, we’ll have your certificate of enrollment back to you today. And we’ll provide that to the DOT inspector when you get your new entrance exam, and we’ll provide any documentation that they need to make sure that you are in compliance.
What are the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements for Owner Operators?
Now I mentioned the clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is about two years old, so maybe you were in this business 10 years ago, you never heard of the clearinghouse. Well, it’s, it’s here now and it’s a database that maintains who’s tested positive; what drivers have tested positive. And if you’ve tested positive and you haven’t gone through the appropriate substance abuse professional program, you’re on, what’s called a prohibited status list and you cannot operate.
So as an owner operator, you have to register in the clearinghouse. And you have to designate in the clearinghouse, who is your TPA. Who is your consortium / Third Party Administrator that’s managing your drug testing program and who will be that consortium / Third Party Administrator. They will be responsible to report to the clearinghouse if you have a positive alcohol test or if you have a refusal to test.
So, if we call you for your random test and you refuse, we have to report that. And you’ll not be able to be driving. You’ll be in a prohibited status. If you have a positive drug test, our Medical Review Officer will report that to the clearinghouse.
So, the bottom line is you want to be in compliance. You want to deal with a reputable professional Third-Party Administrator that can help you get your pre-employment drug test anywhere in the United States, can get you enrolled in the consortium and get you tested when you need to be tested, anywhere in the United States.
Once you register in the clearinghouse, that TPA can help with any reporting requirements. And you might want to ask them if they can run the required query to make sure you’re not on the prohibited list. And it’s also required that, annually, there be another query to make sure you’re not on the prohibited list.
So, at National Drug Screening we have a package program, fair fairly priced, very affordable. We can get you set up on the same day. DOT owner-operator consortium. Just give us a call. The number’s on the screen. You can go to our website, nationaldrugscreening.com and we can help the owner-operator be in compliance with the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations.
You can get enrolled in the DOT random consortium from National Drug Screening by calling 866-843-4545 or online – DOT Drug Testing & Consortium.