Few things in life are certain, aside from death and taxes. One other certainty is that alcohol and illicit drugs don’t mix with trucking. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the Substance Abuse Professionals program (SAP) for truck drivers.
Truck driving can at times seem monotonous and downright boring to transport drivers, especially to those who run the same route on a recurring basis. Some may find it mind numbing and sadly some professional drivers turn to alcohol and/or drugs to help them get through their runs. No matter how fine they feel and can justify it to themselves, the result all too often leads to DEADLY crashes. There is no place for such substance abuse on the highways. But frequently, abuse turns into addiction threatening to ruin an otherwise good driver’s occupation or life and the lives of others on the highway. Recognizing this, FMCSA created SAP to help drivers with overcoming their addiction and returning to work as drivers.
SAP exists for the purpose of helping drivers and carriers to assess the qualifications and abilities of their drivers and potential new hires. This is determined by checking with the Department of Transport (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to look at each driver’s standing. Drivers found to have violations may not cost them their job or their Commercial Driver License (CDL). SAP provides treatment programs to educate drivers and help with overcoming addiction to alcohol and drugs. SAP is about getting good drivers back to enjoy their careers without substance abuse.
SAP is about making highways safe for all drivers. That means all commercial truck drivers are required to obey strict regulations from FMCSA regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. Any driver who is found to have breached these rules will face fines, or be disqualified from driving, or even face criminal charges. Periodic drug and alcohol testing is a regular practice that can reveal violators or keep non-users in good standing with the DOT.
Commercial truck drivers must not have a detectable amount of alcohol while on duty. If found with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% the driver will be disqualified from driving for 24 hours and may be subject to fines or criminal charges.
When a driver refuses to take a drug or alcohol test or fails one, the driver must undergo an evaluation with a substance abuse professional to see if there is a problem that needs to be treated. If so, the substance abuse professional will give the driver’s employer a treatment plan and any necessary follow up.
Given that there is no real reason for any driver to be on the road with alcohol or drugs in their system, SAP is on the side of drivers, especially those who need help with substance abuse. But remember: the driver must be committed to curing the addiction. It’s a two-way street. Get right and motor on happily.