If you hope to return to duty following a DOT drug and alcohol violation, you have a set process. You will need to follow a strict program. It is called the DOT’s Substance Abuse Professional program. After all, an SAP violation stays on your official record for five years after the violation.
But what is the SAP program and how can you make sure you’re following it correctly?
We will outline the DOT SAP program from beginning to end. We will also cover commonly asked questions like how long does the DOT return-to-duty process take. With this information, you should be ready to begin your journey toward a return-to-duty.
SAP Program Basics
The DOT SAP program is designed to help a commercial driver return to work safely after a substance abuse violation.
You cannot be an SAP unless you are a:
- Licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy); or
- licensed or certified social worker; or
- licensed or certified psychologist; or
- licensed or certified employee assistance professional; or
- state-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist; or
- an alcohol and drug abuse counselor
In addition to being one of the above listed professionals, the SAP must also be qualified as a DOT SAP.
SAP Program Timeline
You may be wondering: how long is the SAP program for truck drivers?
The time a typical SAP Program takes to complete depends on many factors. Namely, it depends on a driver’s ability to complete the required steps. On average, a transportation professional can can expect the evaluation, education and treatment portion to take between a few days to weeks (and longer in some cases), and the follow up testing plan to last between 1-5 years.
However, one way to complete the process is to ensure you’re following the steps effectively and thoroughly along the way. What is required for each step? Read on to find out.
SAP Program Process
Following a safety violation, it is a best practice that your employer will initiate the SAP process. They do this by submitting the request and procuring a list of DOT-approved SAPSs. It is not uncommon that employees have to locate their own SAP, especially in cases of pre-employment violations. The SAP you select will follow a standard process.
The SAP Program follows a set list of steps, per DOT regulations. This includes:
- SAP is identified and designated to your case
- SAP evaluates the violation and of the driver
- The SAP deems the driver is eligible for a return-to-duty substance testing program
- If the driver has a negative substance test, they are deemed return-to-duty eligible. Return to duty test results must be negative to move onto the next step.
- The SAP organizes and conducts a follow-up testing plan to ensure there are no further violations
- The process is concluded once follow-up testing is completed with negative results
More information about the process, as well as a handy guide, can be found here.
American River Wellness can offer court-ordered evaluations, DUI education, and more to CDL drivers who have experienced safety violations. Call today to learn more about the DOT SAP program!