Are truck drivers immediately terminated for a failed CDL drug test?

women in trucking


The consequences of failing a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug/alcohol test under Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) if you have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) can vary depending on company policies, Federal regulations, and the specific circumstances surrounding the failed test. Here are some general considerations:

  1. Company Policies:
    • Review your (future) employer’s drug and alcohol policies. Companies typically have specific procedures outlined for dealing with failed drug and/or alcohol tests, and these policies often determine the consequences. The company may offer a Second Chance Program of sorts to help support the recovery needs of their employees following Federal guidelines.
  2. Regulatory Compliance:
    • Compliance with Federal regulations, set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is crucial. If you hold a CDL, you are subject to DOT regulations, which mandate specific procedures for handling failed drug and/or alcohol tests. Upon failing a drug and/or alcohol test for CDL drivers, companies must immediately remove the employee from safety-sensitive duties and provide them a list of DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs), under §40.287, to begin the Return-to-Duty (RTD) Process.
  3. Return-to-Duty Process:
    • If you wish to continue working in a safety-sensitive position requiring a CDL, you will need to complete the DOT Return-to-Duty process successfully. This involves assessment by a SAP and compliance with any recommended treatment or education programs they provide.
  4. Employer’s Discretion:
    • Ultimately, the decision to terminate employment or take other disciplinary actions is at the discretion of your employer. Some employers may offer opportunities for a Second Chance Program if the DOT RTD Process is successfully completed, while others may have a zero-tolerance policy.
  5. Legal and Regulatory Consequences:
    • Failing a DOT drug and/or alcohol test can have legal and regulatory consequences. It’s important to understand and comply with DOT regulations, as well as any applicable regulations.


Do you need Substance Abuse Professional Services?

ASAP has a nationwide reach in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Our trained and knowledgeable team will assist you in understanding the process and signing up. It’s fast and easy to enroll with ASAP! 888.792.2727 x607

Scroll to Top