When was the last time you took a drug test?
Whether you are a new CDL driver or a seasoned pro looking to change jobs, you can expect a drug test from your potential employer as a condition of employment. Additionally, you may be expected to undergo random drug tests, and, if you’ve been involved in an accident, your employer will probably require you to take another drug test.
Drug testing has become standard procedure at many logistic businesses, especially ones that involve driving. Even when you are confident that you will pass, getting a drug test can be a scary process. From going to a different clinic to following the no-nonsense directions of the healthcare worker, and then waiting for your results, the experience can be unnerving. There is always that little voice in the back of your head, thinking, “What if I test positive for drugs? What happens then?”
What Are They Looking For In A Drug Test?
Logistics companies are required by law to administer drug tests to all drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A typical test screens for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and PCP. The tests follow established thresholds for each drug, and testing above the approved level for any of the drugs results in a positive result.
To remove some of the mystery and set your mind at ease, the following information will let you know what you can expect when you go for your CDL drug test:
Type Of Test
For DOT compliance, urine tests are standard practice. However, hiring companies often require hair follicle samples as well.
Hair follicle testing are used because traces of illegal substances remain in the hair longer. Modern drug tests can reveal substance use of up to 90 days, providing employers with a more accurate picture of employee drug usage.
It’s common for people to try skirting this type of test by shaving their head. It won’t work. Here’s why…
The Hair Follicle Testing Procedure
The screening will take place at a designated testing facility to ensure proper procedures. The tester will remove a small sample of hair close to the scalp and forward it to an approved lab for testing. If the hair cannot be obtained from your scalp, due to baldness or close shaving, the tester will collect the sample from body hair. If you don’t have any body hair, your employer will determine the next steps, but it’s likely you won’t be hired until the test is complete.
It’s vitally important you be forthcoming with any and all medications you are taking, or have taken, within the last 90 days. Some drugs can interfere with testing and lead to false-positive results. Even some foods such as poppy seeds have been known to interfere with the process, so if you are an avid fan of poppy seed bagels, be sure to disclose that fact beforehand.
Once obtained, your sample will undergo an initial rapid screening test. This will be followed by a secondary test, if necessary, to rule out any potential false-positives.
In most cases, your results will be available within 24 hours, as testing overnight is standard practice. Be sure to ask the testing personnel how your results will be communicated to you and within what amount of time.
Your results will fall into one of three categories: Negative, positive, or inconclusive.
A negative result is good! It means the screening did not uncover the presence of drugs in your sample. You’ll be able to move forward in the hiring process.
A positive result indicates that even with the two-step testing procedure, specific drug metabolites were found in the sample. This result does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a false positive, which is why it’s so important to disclose if you are currently taking any prescription drugs.
If your test returns an “inconclusive” result, something may have gone wrong in testing, or they need more information. You will need to provide a new sample and go through the process again.
While hair follicle drug testing can detect if a person has used specific substances within the last 90 days, it can’t reveal the exact date of use, nor are they 100 percent accurate. However, these tests are widely accepted as a best practice and give employers the best picture of a person’s potential drug use.
It will be up to the policies of your employer if you are eligible to retake the drug test and if there is a waiting period before you can do so.
Your Results And Your Medical History
Be assured that your drug screening is testing for specific drugs and is not a general indicator of your medical condition. Because you are considered a “donor” when submitting your hair, you are not a “patient” and, therefore, not covered by HIPPA laws. This status means your results can and will be shared with your potential employer, who is also typically paying for the test.
While drug testing can be unnerving, it is also an accepted part of the driving profession. You might be nervous your first time, but soon, it will become a routine part of your job.
If you are in the market for a new job putting your CDL to work, Spectra360 has many openings for drivers. Click here to check out our openings, and let us help you secure the career you’ve always wanted!