Getting into Compliance-Part 3

18 Mar 2016

... FMCSA DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing ...

The return phone call was a long time in coming as I was expecting the call early in the business day. Instead, the call came at almost the end of the business day. Several thoughts were running through my mind as I was waiting for that return phone call. 

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind as do I want to continue to do business with this company (the service agent or C/TPA) if they cannot promptly return phone calls. I had called at 8:30 AM of the previous day and here it was almost the close of business of the following day. This is not a very good impression being left for me about this service provider. It is on their records that I am the owner of the company as my manager told me they had that information about who the owner was along with how to get in touch with me.

While I am waiting for them to return my phone call as requested, I once again review the drug and alcohol test records comparing them to what is required.   I make notes of some of the discrepancies that I could determine were actual discrepancies.  Notably, there was no evidence of the Federal Chain-of-Custody Form (CCF) being used.  Besides that, there was no mention of alcohol tests being done during the past year.  In my mind with 20 drivers during the year, at least 2 random alcohol tests should have been done.

I had also told my manager that when we started the alcohol testing program that I wanted pre-employment alcohol test as part of the program. There was no readily available evidence of pre-employment alcohol tests that had been done.  I vividly remembered the discussion that I had had with the manager and that I wanted to have them done.  My point was that if a driver failed a pre-employment alcohol test they were not going to be a driver for me and driving one of my trucks.  We discussed the issue and in the end he finally agreed with me and that he would get those tests done also on new hires.

The phone rang at about 3:30 with my assistant initially taking the call. My assistant knew that I was expecting this call and promptly transferred the call to me after informing me who was on the phone.

I picked up the receiver and inquired who was calling. The person stated that he was Mr. Jones and that he was the customer service representative.  I, in turn, identified myself and that I was the owner of the company.

Mr. Jones inquired as to why I called. I told him that my concerns were about the drug and alcohol testing program and being in compliance with all of the existing regulations. His response was that he was prepared to address my concerns and to put me at ease. He also assured me at this time that my company was in complete compliance with all of the applicable regulations.

As I knew some things about state law, I asked if they were licensed by the state and local jurisdiction to conduct business.  The response was yes to which I replied that I would like to see a copy of their business licenses.  Mr. Jones told me that he would be pleased to provide me with copies of their business licenses.  I also wanted to know what their Tax Identification number was that had been issued to them by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  I was assured that this information would be made available to me.  He inquired to see if I had any more concerns with my response being yes I did.

My next question was to ask if they were accredited or certified to manage drug and alcohol testing programs. I was given the response that yes they were certified by the Federal Government to manage these program.   I then asked what Federal Agency gave them that certification?  They told me that the Department of Transportation (DOT) had given them a letter of certification.  I asked to see a copy of that letter issued by DOT.  They told me that they did not have an actual letter but that they had been verbally informed by DOT that all certification requirements had been met.  My immediate question in my mind was why was I told two different things that they had a letter but then they did not have a letter.  I found that very interesting and told Mr. Jones that I would need more information.

I then asked what laboratory were they using to conduct the analysis of the specimens.  He responded that they were doing onsite testing and that the devices were approved to be used by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  I found this very interesting as there was not any mention of this in 49 CFR part 40 allowing.  My initial thought was to find out if I had read the regulations correctly.  I made notes of what had been stated plus the name of the testing equipment that was being used.  My head was starting fill up with questions.  I thanked Mr. Jones for all of this information and told him that I looked forward to getting copies of the licenses as requested.  He told me that he would get me the copies of their business licenses and that if I had any more questions to please call.

I had some research to do to see if my company was in compliance.  I made a list of compliance items that I would have to check

There is more to come on this series.