Is There an SAP Program for Truck Drivers?

by Sudarsan

Truck drivers are considered safety-sensitive workers. As a result, drivers must complete drug and alcohol testing through the Department of Transportation. If you have recently failed a DOT drug test, you may have been told to find a Substance Abuse Professional or complete an SAP program. Is there an SAP program for truck drivers? If so, what can you expect from the process? Let’s go over your options so you can potentially return to work. 

Are All Truck Drivers Required to Go through Drug and Alcohol Testing? 

For the most part, all CDL truck drivers are required to complete drug and alcohol testing for the DOT. This includes full-time, part-time, seasonal, and intermittent workers. Anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle on public roads is considered a safety-sensitive worker.

What Happens after a Truck Driver Fails a DOT Drug Test?

If a truck driver fails a DOT drug test, he or she is immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties. The driver must then complete a Return-to-Duty process before returning to work. Approximately 85% of clients at American Substance Abuse Professionals are able to return to work after completing an SAP program with a DOT qualified substance abuse professional. A failed DOT drug test does not necessarily mark the end of your truck driving career. 

What Is a SAP Program?

An SAP program is a Return-to-Duty process outlined by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). SAPs must undergo rigorous training and education in order to comply with DOT regulations.  To become a SAP, a person must be a licensed physician, therapist, counselor, psychologist, or social worker.

SAPs are trained to evaluate employees after they have failed a DOT drug test. Then they create a SAP program for the employee to complete before returning to work. It’s a SAP’s job to determine what steps a truck driver must take to be reconsidered for a safety-sensitive position. 

What to Expect from a SAP Program for Truck Drivers

After a truck driver fails a DOT drug test, he or she must reach out to a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional to start the Return-to-Duty process. The SAP will schedule an in-person consultation to evaluate the driver and his or her circumstances. From there, the SAP will recommend education and treatment for the driver to complete. This may include counseling, drug rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, and other steps. 

Once the driver has completed all the requirements for his or her SAP program, the SAP will schedule a follow-up evaluation. If the SAP determines that the driver is ready to return to safety-sensitive work, he or she will write a report to send to the Designated Employee Representative (DER). The driver can then complete a new round of drug testing and apply to work again.  American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. has SAP programs for truck drivers, airline workers, bus drivers, and other safety-sensitive workers. With our network of over 5,000 DOT-qualified SAPs across the United States, our goal is to connect you with an SAP near you as quickly as possible.

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