Question of the Month
May an employer notify a driver of his/her selection for a random controlled substance test while the driver is in an off-duty status?
YES!! Part 382 does not prohibit an employer from notifying a driver of his/her selection for a random controlled substances test while the driver is in an off-duty status.
If an employer selects a driver for a random controlled substances test while the driver is in an off-duty status, and then chooses to notify the driver that he/she has been selected while the driver is still off-duty, the employer must ensure that the driver proceeds immediately to a collection site. Immediately, in this context, means that all the driver’s actions, after notification, lead to an immediate specimen collection. If the employer’s policy or practice is to notify drivers while they are in an off-duty status, the employer should make that policy clear to all drivers so that they are fully informed of their obligation to proceed immediately to a collection site.
If an employer does not want to notify the driver that he/she has been selected for a random controlled substances test while the driver is in an off-duty status, the employer could set aside the driver’s name for notification until the driver returns to work, as long as the driver returns to work before the next selection for random testing is made.
Employers should note that regardless of when a driver is notified, the time the driver spends traveling to and from the collection site, and all time associated with providing the specimen, must be recorded as on-duty time for purposes of compliance with the hours-of-service rules.
NOTE: Notification for alcohol testing is not the same. A driver must be about to perform, or immediately available to perform, a safety-sensitive function to be considered subject to random alcohol testing. A supervisor, mechanic, or clerk, etc., who is on call to perform safety-sensitive functions may be tested at any time they are on call, ready to be dispatched while on-duty.
Answers are taken directly from the regulations or regulation guidance.