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What are the steps to DOT's return to duty?

Updated: May 10

Return to Duty
Return to Duty

All transportation professionals must comply with the regulations set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If an employee has violated the DOT drug and alcohol regulations, they must take specific steps to return to their job. This article will outline the necessary steps for a successful DOT return-to-duty process.

Steps to DOT Return to Duty:

  1. Attend a SAP Assessment: The first step in the DOT return to duty process is to attend a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) assessment. The SAP will evaluate the employee and recommend the appropriate treatment and education programs.

  2. Complete Treatment Program: The employee must complete the recommended treatment program following the SAP assessment. This may include counseling, education classes, or other interventions to address the substance abuse issue.

  3. Provide Proof of Completion: Once the treatment program is completed, the employee must provide proof of completion to the SAP. This documentation is crucial for proceeding in the return-to-duty process.

  4. Follow-up Evaluation: After completing the treatment program, the employee must undergo a follow-up evaluation with the SAP. This evaluation will determine if the employee is ready to return to safety-sensitive duties.

Negative Return-to-Duty Drug Test: The employee must pass a return-to-duty drug test before returning to duty. This test must return negative for the employee to be cleared for safety-sensitive duties. A Urine Specimen Collector must observe all return-to-duty tests.

FMCSA Clearinghouse

When enrolled in a DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing program, your information is entered into the FMCSA's (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) and the C/TPA (Consortium/Third-Party Administrator) are responsible for ensuring that your information is accurate and up-to-date in the clearinghouse.

This includes reporting any drug and alcohol violations, completing return-to-duty processes, and updating your personal information, such as your address and contact information. By keeping your information current in the clearinghouse, the SAP and C/TPA can help ensure that you remain in compliance with DOT regulations and can continue to work in safety-sensitive positions.


If you or your company is not a member of a Drug & Alcohol consortium, you may enroll in our consortium program. Our program is designed to ensure compliance with federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.

As a member of our consortium, you will have access to a network of certified laboratories and trained professionals who will help you maintain a safe and drug-free workplace. Additionally, we provide education and training on the latest drug and alcohol testing procedures to help you stay up-to-date with regulatory requirements.

Owner Operators

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, all owner-operators must enroll in a drug and alcohol consortium.

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