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GAO-08-829R: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

June 30, 2008: 

The Honorable James L. Oberstar:
Chairman:
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Peter A. DeFazio:
Chairman:
Subcommittee on Highways and Transit: 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 
House of Representative: 

Subject: Examples of Job Hopping by Commercial Drivers after Failing 
Drug Tests: 

Millions of American drivers hold commercial driver's licenses (CDL), 
allowing them to operate a variety of commercial vehicles, such as 
school buses, cargo vans, and tractor trailers. While most commercial 
drivers do not test positive for drugs and alcohol, Department of 
Transportation (DOT) data show that each year from 1994 through 2005, 
from 1.3 percent to 2.8 percent of truck drivers tested positive for 
the presence of illegal drugs under random testing. However, as our 
recent investigation shows, the current DOT drug testing process can 
easily be defeated with products, such as synthetic urine, that are 
widely available for sale.[Footnote 1] To help prevent accidents 
resulting from commercial drivers who use drugs and alcohol, federal 
law requires commercial drivers to be tested for drug and alcohol use. 
[Footnote 2] Specifically, the testing is required as part of the 
preemployment screening process, on a random basis while employed, and 
following an accident involving a fatality. Commercial drivers who fail 
a drug test, refuse to test, or otherwise violate the drug testing 
regulations are required to complete a return-to-duty process before 
returning to the road. The return-to-duty process is guided by a 
substance abuse professional and must include education or treatment, 
return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing. 

However, among the commercial drivers who test positive for illegal 
drugs, an unknown number continue to drive without completing the 
required return-to-duty process. Those who do not go through the return-
to-duty process and continue to drive are called job-hoppers.[Footnote 
3] A job-hopper tests positive for one carrier; is fired, quits, or is 
not hired; and subsequently tests negative on a preemployment test for 
another carrier. DOT regulations require that employers--with the 
applicants' consent--request the applicants' drug testing records from 
previous employers.[Footnote 4] Because they avoid the return-to-duty 
process and can choose to not disclose their prior failed drug tests, 
these commercial drivers could continue to drive and use drugs. In 
addition to abstaining from drug use for a short period in order to 
pass the second test, a wide variety of available commercial products 
can mask drug use and may allow commercial drivers to pass drug tests 
even as they continue to use illegal drugs.[Footnote 5] 

Because of the significant danger of commercial drivers circumventing 
the return-to-duty requirements and driving shortly after a failed drug 
test, you asked us to identify illustrative cases of job-hopping 
commercial drivers based on data that you provided to us from a third- 
party administrator.[Footnote 6] Specifically, you asked us, to the 
extent possible, to determine (1) the current employment status for 
selected employees who passed the drug test after recently failing the 
test; (2) whether the failed test was known to the current employer 
prior to, or after, hiring the individual; and (3) whether the prior 
positive test result was disclosed on the application for current 
employment. 

To address the objectives, we analyzed the drug test results data 
provided to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
from a third-party administrator. We assessed these data for 
reliability and found them to be sufficiently reliable for our 
purposes. The drug test data covered 698 drivers who, within the last 5 
years, tested positive for one employer and negative for another 
employer. In our analysis of the data, we narrowed the focus and 
identified 43 cases from the past 2 years where commercial drivers had 
tested positive for drugs with one employer then, within 1 month, 
tested negative with another employer. To develop case studies that 
would meet our objectives, we interviewed employers to determine (1) if 
the commercial driver is currently employed at the company, (2) if the 
employer was aware of the positive drug test prior to or after hiring 
the commercial driver, and (3) if the prior positive test was disclosed 
on the application for current employment. In addition, we interviewed 
selected commercial drivers to determine their current employment 
status and the circumstances surrounding their drug tests. For these 43 
cases, we also reviewed relevant state department of motor vehicle 
reports, police reports, and other public records. 

In summary, for all 43 cases, we contacted and informed the employer 
that the commercial driver had a previous positive drug test and made 
inquiries concerning application and employment information regarding 
the commercial driver. Employers for 37 of the 43 identified drivers 
responded to our inquiry.[Footnote 7] For all 37 of these cases, the 
employers stated that the commercial driver did not disclose prior 
positive test results. For 19 of the 37 cases, the driver was 
subsequently hired. The other 18 drivers were not hired for several 
reasons, including instances where the previous employer disclosed the 
positive drug test when asked by the prospective employer. 

We performed our investigative work from March 2008 to June 2008 in 
accordance with standards prescribed by the President's Council on 
Integrity and Efficiency. 

Examples of Commercial Drivers Who Job Hopped after Failing Drug Tests: 

Using the drug test results data provided by your staff through a third-
party administrator, we identified 43 cases where commercial drivers 
had tested positive for illegal drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, and 
amphetamines, with one employer and within 1 month tested negative with 
another employer. For all 43 cases, we contacted and informed the 
employer that the commercial driver had a previous positive drug test 
and made inquiries concerning application and employment information 
regarding the commercial driver. Employers for 37 of the 43 identified 
drivers responded to our inquiry. 

Of the 37 drivers for which we received employer responses, our 
investigations found that 19 of them were subsequently hired even 
though the employer stated that a positive drug test would have 
disqualified them. As part of their employment, these 19 drivers drove 
commercial vehicles, including trucks carrying hazardous materials for 
periods of 1 month to over 1 year. In fact, several drivers were 
currently on the road driving commercial vehicles at the time we 
contacted the employer. When we informed employers about the positive 
tests, the companies quickly terminated the commercial drivers. For the 
other 18 cases, the driver did not drive commercial vehicles for the 
employer for several reasons, including because a previous employer 
disclosed the positive drug test or the driver did not complete the 
orientation process. 

In addition, as part of our investigation, we were able to interview 12 
of these 37 commercial drivers to determine their current employment 
status and the circumstances surrounding their drug tests. In these 
discussions, we found that none of these 12 drivers, after being 
notified of failing their drug test, had undergone an evaluation by a 
Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) before applying for a new job. 
[Footnote 8] In fact, only 7 of these commercial drivers indicated they 
were aware that such an evaluation was required. 

The following provides more detailed examples from several of the cases 
we investigated. 

Case 1: A Texas truck driver tested positive for marijuana on June 10, 
2007. The driver then applied for employment at a neighboring company 
approximately 2 weeks later. His first preemployment test was 
inconclusive because of an invalid sample. The truck driver 
subsequently tested negative for drugs in a second preemployment test 
[Footnote 9]. After passing the second preemployment test, the driver 
was employed by the company hauling general freight. A company official 
stated the company was unaware that the driver had failed a previous 
drug test because the driver did not disclose it on his employment 
application. The truck driver was fired after we notified the company 
of the positive drug test. 

Case 2: On October 29, 2007, an Oklahoma truck driver tested positive 
for marijuana. The driver subsequently passed his preemployment drug 
test for another company 9 days later[Footnote 10]. The driver stated 
that he "took appropriate measures to clean his system before applying 
at the second employer". A company official stated that the company was 
unaware of the prior drug test and that the driver had been employed 
for a couple of months but was no longer working for the company. The 
driver stated that he is not currently driving commercial vehicles. 

Case 3: On May 14, 2007, a Tennessee truck driver tested positive for 
cocaine. The commercial driver passed a preemployment drug test for a 
second company 8 days later[Footnote 11]. Prior to his drug tests, the 
driver was charged with possession of a controlled substance. According 
to the employer, the driver was employed at the company for several 
months driving trucks containing cargo and hazmat material. The 
employer indicated that the driver is no longer employed at the 
company. 

Case 4: A Georgia truck driver tested positive for marijuana on March 
5, 2007. About 3 weeks later, the driver passed the preemployment drug 
test for a second company[Footnote 12]. The driver was employed by the 
company for about 7 months driving a truck containing cargo and hazmat 
materials. According to a company official, the company would not have 
hired the truck driver if officials were aware of the prior drug test 
because it is the company's policy not to hire a driver who has failed 
a drug and alcohol test within the past 5 years. According to the 
employer, the driver is no longer employed at the company. 

Case 5: On July 12, 2006, a Michigan commercial driver tested positive 
for cocaine. The driver passed the preemployment drug test for a second 
company 9 days later,[Footnote 13] but was not subsequently hired by 
company because, according to a company official, he did not meet the 
company's qualifications. Prior to his drug tests, the commercial 
driver was responsible for a truck accident in which he tested positive 
for cocaine. The commercial driver also pled guilty to operating/ 
allowing intoxicated person to operate a motor vehicle in 2007. 

The table in enclosure I provides a description of the other 38 cases 
that we investigated. 

On May 30, 2008, we briefed the DOT officials on the results of our 
investigation. We informed the officials that GAO notified the 
employers for all 43 cases of drivers with prior positive drug tests. 

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly release its contents 
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days 
from its date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to the 
Secretary of Transportation. We will make copies available to others 
upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on 
the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-6722 or kutzg@gao.gov if you have any 
questions concerning this report. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Key contributors to this report include Matthew 
Valenta, Assistant Director; Paul DeSaulniers; Wendy Dye; Olivia Lopez; 
and Philip Reiff. 

Signed by: 

Gregory D. Kutz:
Managing Director:
Forensic Audits and Special Investigations: 

Enclosure - I: 

Enclosure I: 

Commercial Drivers Who Failed, Then Passed, a Drug Test: 

In the letter, we provided detailed information for 5 cases. This 
enclosure presents summary information on the results of our 
investigation for the other 38 case studies. Table 1 summarizes the 
results of our analysis of the drug test results from a third-party 
administrator and our interviews with employers and selected commercial 
drivers for these 38 cases. 

Table 1: Commercial Drivers Who Failed Drug Tests and Subsequently 
Passed Drug Tests within 1 Month: 

Case: 6; 
Driver location: CO; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 24, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: July 31, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Admitted that his commercial driver's license (CDL) was revoked in 
1985 for driving under the influence of alcohol; 
* Carried general commodities for about 9 months; 
* Stated that he was not notified of the positive drug test. Driver 
stated that his doctor's office left a message but he thought it was a 
general solicitation and did not return the call. Driver stated that he 
assumed the company for which he tested positive for drugs did not hire 
him because of a medical condition; 
* Stated that several months after he was hired, he was stopped at a 
weigh station 1,300 miles from home. He stated that he was informed 
that he could no longer drive because he had not completed the required 
Department of Transportation substance abuse professional (SAP) 
evaluation; 
* Claims no longer drives commercial vehicles. 

Case: 7; 
Driver location: TN; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 2, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: July 23, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose positive drug test on the employment application; 
* Drove truck carrying general freight for about 2 months; 
* Told GAO investigators that he was told to take substance abuse 
classes, but he refused to take "them because he does not take drugs"; 
* Stated that he is currently employed driving a truck for another 
company. 

Case: 8; 
Driver location: TX; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: August 6, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: August 13, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Stated that he maintains his CDL but cannot find employment because 
of his positive drug test; 
* Said he was not aware that he must complete the SAP evaluation 
requirement. 

Case: 9; 
Driver location: TX; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: April 15, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: May 3, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test to the employer; 
* Drove tractor trailer for the company for 1 week. 

Case: 10; 
Driver location: TX; 
Drug(s): Amphetamine and methamphetamine; 
Positive drug test date: October 23, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: October 31, 2006; 
Description: 
* Drove dry van that carried general freight for about 2 months. 

Case: 11; 
Driver location: TN; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: August 7, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: August 15, 2006; 
Description: 
* Was not hired for reasons unrelated to the positive drug test; 
* Charged with driving under the influence and speeding in 2007. 

Case: 12; 
Driver location: TN; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 2, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: July 11, 2007; 
Description: 
* Convicted of possession of hashish in 1989; 
* Transported general freight and various hazardous materials for over 
a month. 

Case: 13; 
Driver location: MI; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 31, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: August 4, 2006; 
Description: 
* Was not hired for reasons unrelated to drug test. 

Case: 14; 
Driver location: MI; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: July 16, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: July 30, 2007; 
Description: 
* Drove dry van for about 9 months. 

Case: 15; 
Driver location: WI; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: November 14, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: November 28, 2006; 
Description: 
* Was not hired because previous employer notified company of positive 
drug test. 

Case: 16; 
Driver location: MD; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: October 13, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: October 30, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose positive drug test on the employment application; 
* Was not hired because previous employer notified company of positive 
drug test. 

Case: 17; 
Driver location: IL; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: October 22, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: November 18, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported general commodities and various hazardous materials for 
about 5 months. 

Case: 18; 
Driver location: FL; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: February 11, 2008; 
Negative drug test date: February 20, 2008; 
Description: 
* Was not hired without explanation. 

Case: 19; 
Driver location: CA; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: March 19, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: April 10, 2007; 
Description: 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test; 
* Stated that he is not currently driving; 
* Had multiple arrests and convictions related controlled substances. 

Case: 20; 
Driver location: NY; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: August 16, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: September 5, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test. 

Case: 21; 
Driver location: NY; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: January 16, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: February 5, 2007; 
Description: 
* Admitted knowledge of his positive drug test but claimed he was never 
offered, and did not take, any substance abuse classes; 
* Has worked for a city government as a commercial driver for over a 
year. 

Case: 22; 
Driver location: NJ; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: December 4, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: December 27, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose positive drug test on the employment application; 
* Stated that he did not have a SAP evaluation because he was unaware 
it was required; 
* Currently driving a dump truck; 
* Stated that he is attempting to get a job driving a tractor trailer; 
* Charged in 2007 with possession of a controlled dangerous substance 
and was later adjudicated through pretrial intervention. 

Case: 23; 
Driver location: PA; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 23, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: August 13, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose positive drug test on the employment application; 
* Claimed the company notified him of a positive drug test only because 
the company did not want hire him due to a physical disability; 
* Claims that is currently driving a commercial vehicle. 

Case: 24; 
Driver location: SC; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: January 15, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: January 29, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported general freight for 3 months;
* Stated that he gave up his CDL because SAP classes too costly. 

Case: 25; 
Driver location: SC; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: August 20, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: September 10, 2007; 
Description: 
* Was not hired without explanation. 

Case: 26; 
Driver location: NC; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: August 5, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: August 28, 2007; 
Description: 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test. 

Case: 27; 
Driver location: OH; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 5, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: July 12, 2006; 
Description: 
* Transported refrigerated and nonhazardous goods for nearly 10 months; 
* Was fired after company was notified of prior positive drug test; 
* Claims is currently operating a tow truck; 
* Claims that he completed SAP evaluation. 

Case: 28; 
Driver location: IN; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: August 24, 2007; 
Description: Negative drug test date: August 29, 2007; 
Was previously charged with controlled substance abuse in the 1980s. 

Case: 29; 
Driver location: NV; 
Drug(s): Amphetamine and Methamphetamine; 
Positive drug test date: December 27, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: January 15, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported nonhazardous materials for about 2 months. 

Case: 30; 
Driver location: AR; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: January 22, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: January 30, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported general commodities and various hazardous materials for 
about 6 months; 
* Was previously charged with controlled substance abuse in 2002. 

Case: 31; 
Driver location: AR; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 31, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: August 28, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test. 

Case: 32; 
Driver location: AR; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: May 14, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: May 21, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported refrigerated and nonhazardous goods for about 1 year; 
* Did not disclose positive drug test to the employer; 
* Stated that he is seeking to take the SAP evaluation but the program 
is too expensive. 

Case: 33; 
Driver location: GA; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: January 28, 2008; 
Negative drug test date: February 5, 2008; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Transported refrigerated and dry goods for 2 months. 

Case: 34; 
Driver location: MS; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: December 6, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: January 3, 2007; 
Description: 
* Transported refrigerated and nonhazardous materials for about 3 
months. 

Case: 35; 
Driver location: LA; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: February 11, 2008; 
Negative drug test date: March 6, 2008; 
Description: 
* Transported commodities for about 1 month; 
* Was terminated after testing positive for drugs during a random drug 
test. 

Case: 36; 
Driver location: LA; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: January 10, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: January 29, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not disclose the positive drug test on the employment 
application; 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test; 
* Drove commercial vehicle for another company in March 2007, according 
to commercial vehicle inspection data. 

Case: 37; 
Driver location: TX; 
Drug(s): Cocaine and; marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 31, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: August 29, 2006; 
Description: 
* Was not hired because his previous employer notified company of 
positive drug test. 

Case: 38; 
Driver location: GA; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: October 2, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: October 9, 2006; 
Description: 
* Arrested for possession of 2 grams of cocaine in 1996; 
* Convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license in 1990, 
1999, and 2006; 
* Did not complete the application process. 

Case: 39; 
Driver location: IA; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: March 14, 2008; 
Negative drug test date: March 31, 2008; 
Description: 
* GAO was not provided any information from employer; 
* Was approved by state to transport hazardous materials 1 month prior 
to positive drug test. 

Case: 40; 
Driver location: SC; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 6, 2007; 
Negative drug test date: August 2, 2007; 
Description: 
* Did not have application information regarding the commercial driver. 

Case: 41; 
Driver location: NJ; 
Drug(s): Marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: September 18, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: October 10, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not complete the application process. 

Case: 42; 
Driver location: SC; 
Drug(s): Cocaine; 
Positive drug test date: September 18, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: September 25, 2006; 
Description: 
* Did not complete the application process because driver failed road 
test. 

Case: 43; 
Driver location: AL; 
Drug(s): Cocaine and marijuana; 
Positive drug test date: July 12, 2006; 
Negative drug test date: July 17, 2006; 
Description: 
* GAO was not provided any information from employer. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

[End of enclosure] 

Footnotes: 

[1] GAO, Drug Testing: Undercover Tests Reveal Significant 
Vulnerabilities in DOT's Drug Testing Program, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-225T] (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 
1, 2007). 

[2] 49 U.S.C.  31306. 

[3] There are little data on the number of drivers who complete the 
return-to-duty process. A director of the Substance Abuse Program 
Administrators Association conservatively estimates that less than half 
of CDL holders who test positive or refuse to test successfully 
complete the return-to-duty process before returning to their jobs. See 
GAO, Motor Carrier Safety: Improvements to Drug Testing Programs Could 
Better Identify Illegal Drug Users and Keep Them off the Road, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-600] (Washington, 
D.C.: May 15, 2008). 

[4] 49 C.F.R.  40.25. 

[5] In November 2007, we reported that 75 percent of the 24 urine 
collection sites we tested failed to restrict access to items that 
could be used to adulterate or dilute the specimen, meaning that 
running water, soap, or air freshener was available in the restroom 
during the test. See [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-
08-225T]. 

[6] Motor carriers in the United States are responsible for conducting 
the drug testing of their employees and can use third-party 
administrators to help them coordinate the drug tests. 

[7] The employers for the other 6 cases did not respond to our inquiry 
or stated that they did not have application information regarding the 
commercial driver. 

[8] One commercial driver did state that he subsequently complied with 
the requirement of a Substance Abuse Professional evaluation. The 
commercial driver said that he went through this program because the 
employer subsequently found out about the prior positive test for 
drugs. 

[9] Date of negative drug test for Case 1 is July 3, 2007. 

[10] Date of negative drug test for Case 2 is November 7, 2007. 

[11] Date of negative drug test for Case 3 is May 22, 2007. 

[12] Date of negative drug test for Case 4 is March 27, 2007. 

[13] Date of negative drug test for Case 5 is July 21, 2006. 

[End of section] 

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