The Big D&A Training Lie

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Don't listen to the people who tell you you're going to get in trouble because you're training is expired.

Keep reading to learn why.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion D&A Training is required for all supervisors, or anyone that has control over a driver’s day to day duties. Basically, if you have the right to pull a driver from a truck because you think he or she may be on something, you need this training.

Why do you need it?

Well, the DOT requires it. Even if it wasn't required, you would not want to accuse someone of being on drugs or alcohol if you haven’t been trained on what to look for. Also, you should know the different signs to look for to spot someone who may be under the influence or using. Nobody wants to sit in court and try to explain that you thought someone was acting weird before a crash, but you just didn’t know how to deal

with it so you ignored it altogether.

The Stereotype

I am not a fan of stereotypes, although it happens and we all do it regardless of race, gender, nationality, etc. We all have some notion of what certain people are like based on movies we have seen or something our mama said when we were kids.

Stereotypes are BS, and yes, every group has the jerk who makes the stereotype true, but that does not mean it is true for everyone in that group. With D&A you probably have that image in your mind of what a drug addict or alcoholic looks like, just FYI…. That is BS, too. Get that out of your head, because the soccer mom next door may be addicted to pills, and the homeless man that you ignore or walk the long way around to avoid may be perfectly clean and sober and just has some other issues that cause them to homeless. Someone’s predicament has nothing to do with who that person is as a human being or what problems they may have, so let’s not judge the person, let’s just decide whether that person should be driving an 80,000lb vehicle down the interstate at 70 miles per hour.

Tips for when you're looking to get the required training:

1. The training never expires – those companies who keep sending you emails and telling you that your certificate is expired and you will get in trouble if you don’t get re-certified are full of crap. Even if you have a certificate from 1982, as long as that training in 1982 met DOT requirements, you are in compliance and don’t need to do it again. I'm pretty sure there a few drugs that have come out since then, and I do think refresher training is important every few years, but it isn’t required.

2. Make sure the training actually meets DOT regulations. I see training courses all over the internet claiming to be DOT compliant, their certificates show that they meet the requirements, too. But when you dig down and really look at it, it doesn’t actually meet the requirements at all. It needs to cover the specific topics listed in 49 CFR 382.603. Some just figure if they talk about drugs for an hour, and alcohol for an hour they are good to go.

3. Does the training tell you how to deal with other drugs that the DOT doesn’t test for? I don’t know about you, but in my mind LSD, Bath Salts and Spice is just as dangerous as any drug that the DOT tests for, if not more so. You should know what to do in any scenario, not just the areas the DOT focuses on.

4. What does the DOT test for?

Marijuana Cocaine Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives Amphetamines and methamphetamine Phencyclidine – PCP

5. What about Post Accident Testing? – I see a lot of motor carriers making big mistakes because they assume that all crashes need a Post-Accident DOT test. This is just not the case and getting it wrong can cost you and your company some pretty big problems and not just with the DOT.

Example 1: Driver gets in a crash, you do a DOT drug test when it is not warranted and it is not in your company policy. Driver tests positive so you fire the driver. Driver now comes back and sues you for wrongful termination, and you end up having to pay this jerk a settlement, even though he tested positive for Cocaine. Uggghhhh, that is just freaking annoying!

Example 2: Non-DOT Post accident testing is required after all crashes according to your company policy, so after John Doe driver gets in a crash you do your Non-DOT D&A test. You figure that the Non-DOT test is more thorough so why should you do both. DOT audits you and you pay serious fines for not having the proper tests done.

Example 3: Driver gets in a crash that causes a fatality, only the fatality happens 30 hours after the crash while the person is in the hospital. You didn’t do any testing because the driver didn’t get a moving citation and nobody died on the scene. You are in violation of the drug testing regulation but not the alcohol testing requirements.

Here’s the thing, FMCSA regulations make things more complicated than they really need to be sometimes. Would it be easier if they just said test for Drugs and Alcohol after every crash, yep…. But that is not what they did. They made it complicated and now you need to know what to do in any scenario.1. Just because a driver doesn’t need to have a CDL does NOT mean that they don’t have to abide by the other regulations. This includes Hours of Service, Medical Cards and DQ files.

Online Course

If you have already done Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion D&A training and just want a refresher,

have never had the training that you need or maybe you just like having lots of certificates showing all the

training you have taken. Click HERE to check out our online course. This course has been updated with current information.

Yes, it is over 2 hours long, yes we

cover more than just the DOT requirements, and yes, we try to make it interesting so you don’t fall asleep or start drooling out of the side of your mouth because you are so bored while watching it. Is it an Oscar Award contender? Hell no, but you will sure as hell know what to do if your driver gets in a crash, if you suspect someone is on drugs, or you find some weird looking bottle with a tube coming out of it in your yard behind where the trucks park.

So to help me in that mission and by a lot of client requests, I created our online training program. By taking this course you will:

  • Receive a Certificate for D&A Suspicion Training compliant with FMCSA Regulations

  • Put safety first, for your drivers and others on the road

  • Learn exactly what to do if you suspect drug and alcohol use

Bundle Up & Save

Of course you can purchase each course individually, but you can also bundle them together for almost 50% off the price you would pay for all courses separately!

CONTACT US if you have questions or to find out about other services we offer. I promise not to be a pushy salesperson or offer anything that won't actually help you!

Tyna Bryan is the CEO of D.O.T. Readiness Group and DOTReady Software. With 20+ years of experience working in the industry, Tyna has owned and managed several companies as well as consulted for hundreds of companies all over the United States. If you get the chance to meet Tyna, she's a spitfire who knows her stuff! She has been consulting and training on DOT compliance and regulations exclusively since 2009.

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