FMCSA'S 'Return-to-Duty' Program: Off-ramp to a Goat Trail to a Dead End

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by sonofsilence, Oct 19, 2023.

  1. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

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    Man... you caught a bad break here. I feel bad for you, but you'll have to face the facts and understand that you made a slight error in judgment. True enough, inexperienced drivers don't know that leaving a facility can cause a refusal or fail, but drivers that come into the industry know enough to understand that you are subject to randoms and you gotta have these tests. I think your impatience messed you up here. If you had waited just a little but longer, you'd still be working.

    You gotta stop blaming your DM. It really ain't his job to supervise you out here, as he ain't your supervisor per se. Driver and DM is more like a partnership. If anything, the DM works for you. A company the size of Western Express, it's probably more on safety to orchestrate the drug test.

    Finally, the regs may say a company can hire you after SAP. The regs also say a dirty drug test keeps a driver out for 3 years. That also means that it isn't a foregone conclusion that a driver that completes SAP will be able to get on with a reputable company. Per the recruiter where I work, any drug amd alcohol issue stops them from hiring a driver for 3 years, even if they wanted to. That isn't limited solely to drug tests. It could be DUIs, and other issues of that sort. They have the right to turn down a driver that has a fail or refusal on his or her record. They may not want to deal with the headache of frequent drug testing. Many companies hide behind that 3 year rule. That's absolutely the minimum you'll have to wait to get on with the majority of companies. Some will make you 5, 7, 10 years. Some will never touch you.

    All that being said, now that you have finished SAP, it will be difficult, but not impossible to find some work. You'll have to be prepared to work somewhere that may not be the best in the world. I failed one in 2011 and it took me 8 years to get back to a reputable company. It wouldn't have taken me so long had I been informed of the 3 year rule. 7 months after I failed, I got a local job with Dr. Pepper/Snapple. Try to get a job in foodservice or hauling beverages. Just be honest on the application. Take a look at some 1099 jobs as well. It's definitely not the best route, but you can earn some money and gain experience at the same time. Get on somewhere, stay out of trouble, and work on gaining some patience. You'll need that in trucking. Good luck to ya driver.
     
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  3. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

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    Try these folks.

    We are hiring Company Drivers

    Yes it's a Chicagoland company. I know everybody is going to #### on this idea but I don't care and you shouldn't either. You should try to do what's necessarily to keep your skills up if you really want to get back to a good place.
     
  4. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    I get that, but when I saw the message from my DM on my ELD to go pick up a lumber load, I believed I was being excused from the drug test, especially given the fact I was not even allowed to sign in to take the test because I had no authorization to take it .
     
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  5. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

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    Doesn't matter what you believed that's not how it works. The right thing to do would have been to stop and call somebody to get answers so if your DM was not any help you should have gone up the chain. When a driver is told to go take a random that's what needs to get done and takes priority over everything. The load will have to be late, wait, rescheduled or whatever - none of which is a big deal - your livelihood on the other hand is.
     
    gentleroger and bryan21384 Thank this.
  6. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    I hear you, buddy, but it was not my fault that I was not permitted to take the test. I was NOT on drugs and I did not "refuse" to take the test. I was not permitted to sign in to take the test, and then when I saw the message from DM to go pick up a load, that's what I did. My job.
    I just took a drug test for a new job today, so I know how they're supposed to work. You go in, sign in, take a seat, wait to be called. That's not what happened at WE, and that was NOT my fault. I definitely got blamed for it though. Anyway, thanks for the advice.
     
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  7. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

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    I hear ya too man. They took the advice. What you must understand is that even if you didn't fail or refuse, perception is reality. That's an uphill battle to climb. You say aren't on drugs. I believe you. Never said I didn't believe you. I feel badly for your situation. However, what you and I believe don't matter to FMCSA. Things do happen. Nonetheless man, I'm glad that you're landing on your feet. Did you land a driving job?
     
    gentleroger Thanks this.
  8. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    Yeah, that makes sense except that that is not what I was taught, not in CDL-A school, not in orientation, and not in OTR training. In fact, the only thing I learned throughout that process is DON'T do drugs or alcohol, not what to do when your DM or the service agent screws up and fails to transmit or find your "authorization" so you're not even allowed to sign in to take the test your DM sent you to take, and then he goes to lunch and fails to answer the phone when you try to call him for the authorization. But you're right. Had I not seen his message on my ELD telling me to go get a lumber load, I probably would have called the fleet manager.
     
  9. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    And of course, now the point is moot anyway. I have learned this lesson ( in a way that no trucker should ever have to learn it).
     
  10. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    Yeah, it's a non-CDL-A gig for a FedEx subcontractor up in E. Syracuse. Obviously, would much rather be running flatbed, but I have to take what I can get right now.
     
    bryan21384 Thanks this.
  11. sonofsilence

    sonofsilence Light Load Member

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    I know, but that's just it, the testing process never did begin. I was not permitted to sign in (no "authorization").
     
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