Black & white photo of a truck entering roadway.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Substance Abuse Professional program is designed with clear steps involved. These tests have been in place since the late 1980s and early 1990s. They have necessary steps a recovering professional must clear before their return-to-service.

As part of the program, professional drivers are subject to random substance abuse tests to ensure safety. To pass, a professional driver must:

It is important to note that if a driver tests positive, they will not be allowed to proceed further. However, if a driver fails their unscheduled substance abuse test, they are removed from safety-sensitive positions immediately.

Drivers who fail the SAP evaluation experience significant inconvenience. As such, readers may wonder, “How long does the SAP process take?” Additionally, they may wonder what steps they need to pass in their SAP assessment before returning to work.

In this article, we will simplify the DOT SAP evaluation process and outline the steps you need to take if you’ve failed an SAP evaluation.

The SAP Evaluation

The assessment process can be completed swiftly, typically taking anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. However, the follow-up testing extends over a minimum of 12 months, during which six tests are conducted. The testing plan must last for at least 12 months but can extend up to 60 months.

The SAP Assessment Program Timeline

Eagle-eyed readers wondering “How long does the SAP process take” will have spotted their answer above. At a minimum, the process is spread out over 12 months, with six tests occurring within that time frame.

However, the timeline is entirely dependent on the driver passing their random substance abuse tests. If a test is failed, they do not continue on with their next test.

Instead, disciplinary action may be taken by the employer, such as:

To ensure a speedy return to your duties, it’s essential to keep in mind that the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) may adjust or supplement your recovery plan, potentially prolonging the process. Therefore, passing your DOT SAP evaluations should be your top priority.

Trust American River Wellness to Guide You

At American River Wellness, we are a DOT SAP evaluation partner. We have collected all of the information a professional CDL driver may need when navigating their DOT SAP evaluation journey. Learn more about the DOT SAP today!