FMCSA requires operator supervisors to identify impaired drivers

Keeping the roadways safe for all means complying with reasonable suspicion training for driver supervisors. Required by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 49 CFR Part 40, the regulation necessitates that supervisors of commercial motor vehicle drivers be able to identify when drivers may be impaired by alcohol or controlled substances.

The reasonable suspicion training has become especially critical recently, in light of the number of states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use and the continued proliferation of medications that can negatively impact the capabilities of a vehicle driver.

Meeting FMCSA regulations

The FMCSA rule requires employers to ensure that all persons designated to supervise drivers receive at least 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and another 60 minutes on controlled substances. But, being FMCSA compliant goes beyond just training to include observation documentation reports, written policies and procedures about drug and alcohol testing and more.

Fleets should have established policies and procedures regarding alcohol and controlled substance use. These polices should be distributed among drivers at onboarding spelling out applicable government regulations and specific company requirements. All drivers should be required to sign an agreement acknowledging they understand the policy information and any available assistance programs.

Per 49 CFR Part 40, all fleet operators must train supervisors in reasonable suspicion methodologies so they are aware of common indicators of impairment and how to competently deal with drivers suspected of being under the influence. Supervisors should learn how to document employee behavior in question in an observation report, to be kept in the employee’s file to ensure compliance. Because FMCSA doesn’t have a set structure for the reasonable suspicion training, organizations are free to create their own curriculum that responds to their unique risks, or hire outside agencies to facilitate the training, either live or online.

When it comes to staffing, HUB recommends at least two supervisors/managers who have undergone reasonable suspicion training be on duty at any given time. This will ensure that any suspected employees are fully evaluated and a team of supervisors has determined they are unfit.

Drivers suspected of substance abuse while on duty/at work, should not be allowed to drive for work until the results of a workplace drug test are returned to the employer. This includes making arrangements for the driver to travel to and from the testing center. Such a policy should be stated in the employee handbook that employees signed before commencing their work.

It’s your duty to identify impaired drivers

Regardless of the fleet size, operators must have one or more supervisor(s) on duty during each shift that have been FMCSA compliance trained to identify impaired drivers. Keeping our roads safe depends on it. For more information about FMCSA 49 CFR Part 40 compliance requirements, contact your HUB transportation risk specialist;.