Improving Your Company's Compliance With DOT/FMCSA.
Reasonable Suspicion Training or Drug and Alcohol Recognition for Supervisors
Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing is one of the 6 types of drug tests that exist in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). In order to send someone to a testing facility under reasonable suspicion a person at the motor carrier needs to be certified to do so. The certification is laid out in the FMCSRs and states that persons needs to have one hour training in alcohol recognition training and one hour in drug recognition training. The training consist of what is reasonable suspicion, what does alcohol and drug abuse do to drivers.
Why do Supervisors have to be Trained in Drug and Alchol Recognition?
In order to be certified a motor carrier must have those employees that supervise drivers to be trained in the recognition of an impaired driver. The employee must obtain one hour of training in what to look for and far as intoxication by alcohol and one hour in drug use signs and symptoms. The one hour of alcohol training consists of the effects that alcohol has on a body and the signs and symptoms an employee can identify to make an accurate assessment as to the driver's intoxication.
Intoxication is actually a misunderstood statement in that a driver that has any amount of alcohol beverage on his or her breath should be removed from a safety sensitive function.
A driver is intoxicated at .04 percent alcohol which is not very much alcohol in a person’s system. It would be the equivalent of about two 12 ounce beers, or two shots of 86 proof liquor. If a driver is tested for more than 0.04 percent blood alcohol concentration he could be charged with driving while intoxicated in a CMV.
At 0.04 percent the signs of intoxication are very subtle. The fact that a person has alcohol on their breath is cause for removing a driver from a truck or anything to do with a CMV.
A supervisor would look for things in a driver such as frequent trips to the restroom, odor of alcohol on the drivers clothes, and on their breath. Look at evidence of an alcoholic beverage in or around his woor area or in his CMV.
The drug training consists of learning about the effects on the five types of drugs that the FMCSA tests for and their effect on a driver. Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamine and Methamphetamine, Opiates including prescription drugs and heroin and PCP.
A lot of what is learned about alcohol can also be applied to drug abuse as many signs and symptoms are the same. A certified supervision would be trained to spot certain things in the behavior, odors, speech, balance, walking and overall appearance.
Symptoms included drivers that are having financial problems, troubles in their home life, withdrawing from friends and avoiding the office, dispatch and bosses at their company. Other symptoms include speech that is slurred, very slow or very fast, or described as speaking with a thick tongue.
Other symptoms that are similar in most drugs that are alike in a person that abuses alcohol is that most make a person have a “don’t give a care” attitude, or can just make a person look as if they are about to fall asleep. .Whereas Methamphetamine has an effect when first taken to make a person very hyperactive with almost uncontrollable movements and persons touching their face and scratching at their skin. Opiates can cause a person to be very drowsy or put them to sleep.
All in all a supervisor is to base his determination specifically on what he sees, what he can write about, concerning the appearance, speech, body odors, and movements of the person he sends for a reasonable suspicion drug or alcohol test.