Alcohol & Drug Use Examination

From The Desk of Dr. Robert C Slater BA, MSC, DC, DOT at En~Motion Wellness LLC D/B/A: Healing Hands Wellness LL, DOT NR#: 3723762400

Comprehensive DOT Total Cost: $45.00

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles over 21,000 # in weight must be pre-employment tested for drugs as well as in an annual random selection pool: 50% drawn annually for drug testing/10% drawn annually for alcohol testing. Drivers of CMV from 10,001 to 26,000 need a DOT examination every two years, but not drug testing.

In the health history portion of a medical examiner’s report two questions require honest disclosure: (does a driver regularly or frequently use alcohol or habit forming drugs? If these questions are noted as ‘yes’ this requires an explanation of how much [4 or more on one occasion] and how often [14 or more drinks a week]. Whether or not a person has participated in rehabilitation in the past will also be ascertained. Voluntary participation is a self-help program (like an AA) is not a disqualification.

Also during a federal DOT examination physical or psychological signs of possible alcohol or drug usage (or abuse) are noted along with all other observations and results.

Physical signs or indicators of alcohol or drug abuse: (1) bloodshot eyes, pupils smaller or larger than normal, (2) unusual smells on body, breath or clothing, (3) tremors, slurred speech or impaired coordination, (4) deterioration of appearance or personal grooming habit, (5) changes in appetite or sleep patterns, (6) sudden weight loss or weight gain or (7) injection marks.

Psychological signs of alcohol or drug abuse: (1) unexplained change in personality or attitude, (2) sudden mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts, (3) periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness, (4) lack of motivation, appearance of lethargy or ‘spaced-out’ or (5) appearing fearful, anxious or paranoid for no reason.

If during a DOT examination displays these signs he or she may be requested to take an AUDIT questionnaire. This test contains 10 multiple choice questions on quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems or reactions. The answers are scored on a point system; a score of more than eight indicates an alcohol problem.

The AUDIT, as well as CAGE questionnaires are used by DOT examiners screening tool for signs of alcoholism. Although these are very short and simple test they are effective [up to 93% accuracy] in identifying individuals who are drinking alcoholically.

If indicators on these questionnaires indicate the need, the driver may be requested by the DOT examiner to take a Non-DOT alcohol or drug test. Refusal to take this test will result in temporarily disqualification. When a non-positive alcohol test is obtained the driver may be recertified for a period of 2 years.

A commercial driver can further become disqualified to drive based on several criteria.

  • Uses substance noted in 21 CFR 1308.1 Schedule I, a narcotic or any other habit forming drug
  • Has a current diagnosis of alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Disqualified if there is a current diagnosis of alcoholism or the driver uses illegal drugs
  • Disqualified is the driver has not meet return-to-duty requirements. Once abuse has passed and driver’s condition is stable, or the driver is released by substance abuse professional, certification is for 2 years.

Exception: if the controlled substance is prescribed by the MD who is: familiar with the driver’s commercial demands and work duties as a driver and notes that the use of this controlled substance will not adversely impact the drivers skill and capacity to perform his duties.


Please contact us if you would like to arrange a Home or Office visit for your DOT Examination. We perform DOT physicals for drivers living in or passing through St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as all surrounding suburbs.