Drug Testing Concerns (Community College)

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Jeb H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

I was a live sound engineer before covid laid waste to the industry. I was lucky to find a work-from-home gig that paid the bills these last couple years. Since I was stuck at home, bored, and a little antsy I ended up smoking pot regularly.

Last month during a conversation with a good buddy I decided I want to drive a truck. It'll be nice to get out and see the country after 2 years locked in the house. Obviously the first thing I had to do is quit smoking and that was no problem. The second thing to do is learn everything there is to know about the job including training and certification. For that I've spent the last 3 weeks immersing myself in forums like this one. Up until now I've found answers to all my questions in previous postings. Only recently did I look into the drug testing regime and I've read some absolutely heart-breaking stories of drivers, some of which seemed like top-notch candidates, that had their careers extinguished before they even began due to a failed test.

I don't want to take ANY chances of going down that road. Twenty years of driving at $50k/year amounts to a million-dollar opportunity and I'd be a fool to jeopardize that so I want to take every measure I can to not fall afoul of the law. To that end I've ordered a couple different brands of at-home test kits and intend to have my own lab urinalysis done before I go for the school's test.

I'm 35 days clean at this point and classes don't start until January so I should have no trouble passing a urine test but I'd be toast if asked to take a hair test. I'm going through a community college program and the information packet says I'll be required to pass a drug test shortly after registration at the end of December, but they didn't specify whether it is a urine or follicle test. All I know about the test is that it costs $500. So my first question is does anybody know definitively which method is used by community colleges and does it vary from school to school or state to state? For those of you who've gone the college route, what was your experience?

My second question is do the community colleges report a failed or refused drug test to any governmental or third-party agencies (such as HireRight) either as a requirement or voluntarily?

I've already decided when I finish school I won't be interviewing with any company that uses follicle testing initially. I'll be 120 days out by then but I've read quite a few accounts where employers have gone back 6 months or even a year and I'm not going to chance it until I'm at least a year clean. Also I'm very concerned about second-hand smoke as my entire family continues to smoke and I can't afford to move out right now. The companies that manufacture the tests say it's "very unlikely" that 2nd-hand smoke can cause you to fail and they point to the fact that there are no peer-reviewed scientific studies that say you can. Obviously there are no studies to back their contention either but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence throughout this and other trucking forums. I take the manufacturer's word with a grain of salt because if they were aware of 2nd-hand smoke causing false positives it would be in their financial interests to keep that under wraps.

This brings me to my third line of inquiry. Is there any legal requirement that a company tell you up-front what method of drug test they require? Can I even trust the word of the recruiter if I were to ask them or could they tell me one thing and then spring a follicle test on me, forcing me to take a chance or refuse and am I correct that if I were to refuse that would be on my DAC by the end of the day and in a gov database within the year?

I appreciate any insights you may have on these subjects.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

One be clean one year before starting training.

Two, your pass or failed drug test will be reported to the federal drug clearinghouse.

Three, why pay for training when companies like CFI will train you for free?

Study High Road CDL Training Program.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Jeb H.'s Comment
member avatar

I was thinking WOIA is the only way to get free training. Don't all the companies that train require repayment?

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Repaying whomever trains you is thru a contract driving for them for whatever time frame they have, 1 year, or 2

Bird-One's Comment
member avatar

Typically the company will require you to stay with them for a certain amount of time. Generally a year. Fulfill that and the training will be free. Leave before whatever the said time frame is and you will get a bill for the training. How much will depend on how long into that year you stayed on with them. That’s how it works for the most part.

I was thinking WOIA is the only way to get free training. Don't all the companies that train require repayment?

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Urine tests are the only DOT approved drug testing method at this time. HOWEVER, many companies are doing hair tests. Failing hair WILL NOT be reported to the clearing house but it's still considered a failed pre employment drug test that other carriers will find out about.

Jeb many companies offer "free" cdl training as long as you fulfill your contract. Its very important to understand what you're agreeing to. Most companies require a year, others less. Some like Roehl require a certain mileage (120,000 I believe). You can use this link to Apply For Paid CDL Training. Swift, C.R. England, CFI, Maverick, and Melton (and many others) may be worth checking out as well. Fill out that application and see who gets in contact with you when you're ready.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Jeb H.'s Comment
member avatar

Seeing as I've already been accepted through WOIA and I can certainly pass a UA (if that's the test the college uses) would it be possible to go ahead and get school out of the way In January, get my CDL and then take a BS job (Uber or something) for 6 months or so to be absolutely certain I've cleared the one year threshold before applying for a trucking gig or would that be suspect from an employer's point of view?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

I was a live sound engineer before covid laid waste to the industry. I was lucky to find a work-from-home gig that paid the bills these last couple years. Since I was stuck at home, bored, and a little antsy I ended up smoking pot regularly.

Last month during a conversation with a good buddy I decided I want to drive a truck. It'll be nice to get out and see the country after 2 years locked in the house. Obviously the first thing I had to do is quit smoking and that was no problem. The second thing to do is learn everything there is to know about the job including training and certification. For that I've spent the last 3 weeks immersing myself in forums like this one. Up until now I've found answers to all my questions in previous postings. Only recently did I look into the drug testing regime and I've read some absolutely heart-breaking stories of drivers, some of which seemed like top-notch candidates, that had their careers extinguished before they even began due to a failed test.

I don't want to take ANY chances of going down that road. Twenty years of driving at $50k/year amounts to a million-dollar opportunity and I'd be a fool to jeopardize that so I want to take every measure I can to not fall afoul of the law. To that end I've ordered a couple different brands of at-home test kits and intend to have my own lab urinalysis done before I go for the school's test.

I'm 35 days clean at this point and classes don't start until January so I should have no trouble passing a urine test but I'd be toast if asked to take a hair test. I'm going through a community college program and the information packet says I'll be required to pass a drug test shortly after registration at the end of December, but they didn't specify whether it is a urine or follicle test. All I know about the test is that it costs $500. So my first question is does anybody know definitively which method is used by community colleges and does it vary from school to school or state to state? For those of you who've gone the college route, what was your experience?

My second question is do the community colleges report a failed or refused drug test to any governmental or third-party agencies (such as HireRight) either as a requirement or voluntarily?

I've already decided when I finish school I won't be interviewing with any company that uses follicle testing initially. I'll be 120 days out by then but I've read quite a few accounts where employers have gone back 6 months or even a year and I'm not going to chance it until I'm at least a year clean. Also I'm very concerned about second-hand smoke as my entire family continues to smoke and I can't afford to move out right now. The companies that manufacture the tests say it's "very unlikely" that 2nd-hand smoke can cause you to fail and they point to the fact that there are no peer-reviewed scientific studies that say you can. Obviously there are no studies to back their contention either but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence throughout this and other trucking forums. I take the manufacturer's word with a grain of salt because if they were aware of 2nd-hand smoke causing false positives it would be in their financial interests to keep that under wraps.

This brings me to my third line of inquiry. Is there any legal requirement that a company tell you up-front what method of drug test they require? Can I even trust the word of the recruiter if I were to ask them or could they tell me one thing and then spring a follicle test on me, forcing me to take a chance or refuse and am I correct that if I were to refuse that would be on my DAC by the end of the day and in a gov database within the year?

I appreciate any insights you may have on these subjects.

As far as I am aware, schools test according to federal regulation, so urinalysis within a certain number of days of starting school. Hair follicle will come into play when starting orientation at a company.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
All I know about the test is that it costs $500.

That is a very high price for a urine test. I think that has to be a hair test. I would not risk it if I were you. I would make some inquiries and put this off if it is a hair follicle test.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Seeing as I've already been accepted through WOIA and I can certainly pass a UA (if that's the test the college uses) would it be possible to go ahead and get school out of the way In January, get my CDL and then take a BS job (Uber or something) for 6 months or so to be absolutely certain I've cleared the one year threshold before applying for a trucking gig or would that be suspect from an employer's point of view?

I have read horror stories about waiting. It can leave you with a stale CDL, that is a CDL with no experience, many carriers want to see experience with the CDL. The CDL just opens the door to training, which in turn opens the door to becoming a driver.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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