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It's a Team's Life

Who has the Monkey on their back?

By Linda Caffee
Posted Feb 14th 2017 6:54AM

When called for a random drug or alcohol test and those words are used the monkey is now on my back to get it done and no excuses.

When we signed onto the dotted line to get our CDL we agree to a lot of regulations and one is that we can be called for a drug test at any time on duty or off duty. Even if we were leaving for the trip of a life time, getting ready to board the plane and we answer the phone and the words are said "You need to go for a drug test" we either comply or refuse. Refusal is not an option if we want to keep our CDL and our lease. We are required to get the test in a reasonable time period that the company sets unless there are circumstances beyond our control i.e. an accident happens in front of us and we cannot get around it. Communication though is a must or you risk failing the test.

When going home or taking a day off and thinking about consuming an adult beverage go out of service. Contact your company and take yourself out of service and if needed take the truck out of service. When these steps are taken, we cannot be called for a alcohol test. We though still could be called for a drug test.

What if we have been drinking and are called for a drug test? Not go is not an option and neither is driving so call a cab. Once the call has been made by the company and the clock has started the monkey is on our back and it is up to us to figure out how to make it work. The best scenario would be if we are going to have an adult beverage, we are off duty, lay the phone down and enjoy the evening.

For more fascinating reading about drug and alcohol regulations open up the FMCSA book and read in the front of the book Part 40. We are professionals and as such we need to act the part.

There are other "monkeys" out there and one of them is listening to a driver talk bad about their company. If a company is bad enough to talk bad about them, it is time to move on. Find a place that fits your needs as you are not going to change the company.

When out walking the other day early in the morning I realized I was dressed all in black and very difficult to see. The "monkey" was on my back to make sure I did not get run over by someone that could not see me.

When we agree to take a load the "monkey" is now on our back to deliver the load safely and on time. It is up to us to figure out how to get from point "A" to point 'B" , find the docks, back into the dock, and deliver our load.

A good question to ask yourself when getting frustrated is "Whose problem is it?"

Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005

Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.


  • johnmueller - February 16, 2017
    Linda - a driver should be performing, just completing or be "in preparedness" to perform Safety Sensitive functions when sent for a random drug or alcohol test. Many carriers send drivers when the driver is Off-duty which is wrong. Here is correct info from the FMCSA site:

    Requirements While Not Performing Safety-Sensitive Functions: A CDL driver is selected for a random drug test and the employer directs the driver to be tested when he was (off duty) not performing a safety-sensitive function. The collection site instructs the driver to submit to a random drug test and a random alcohol test. The driver tests positive for the random alcohol test. Is the driver required to undergo the return-to-duty process before performing safety sensitive duties again as a result of the positive alcohol test?


    No, 49 CFR 382.305(m) states that “A driver shall only be tested for alcohol while the driver is performing safety-sensitive functions, just before the driver is to perform safety-sensitive functions, or just after the driver has ceased performing such functions.” As such, the test was improper. The driver does not have to complete the return-to-duty process. The employer must cancel the improper alcohol test, documenting for the record the circumstances resulting in the cancellation.
    Hope this helps.
  • teamcaffee - February 18, 2017
    Thank John for the update appreciate it. It is interesting to get the call that our number has been drawn ...

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