CDL Drug and Alcohol Testing

Below, you will find frequently asked questions and additional information employers of commercial driver's license (CDL) drivers should know.

Why are employers required to report the names of commercial driver employees or applicants who refuse, fail, or alter a drug or alcohol test?
The South Carolina General Assembly passed the CDL Drug Testing Act in 2009 that outlines the reasons.  

How do employers submit the names of employees or applicants who are in violation?
Employers should complete the Results of CDL Drug or Alcohol Testing (SCDMV Form CDL-18) and mail it to the address below:

SCDMV
CDL Help Desk
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0028

How long should employers keep the Results of CDL Drug or Alcohol Testing (SCDMV Form CDL-18) form?
Employers must keep the form on file for three years. However, federal regulations require employers to retain copies of positive result tests and documentation of refusals to take alcohol and controlled substance tests for a period of five years.

Why should an employee be reported for violating the CDL Drug Testing Act?
You should report an employee or applicant to the SCDMV if any of the following are occur:

  • Refusal to provide a specimen for a drug or alcohol test
  • Positive test for drugs or alcohol
  • Submission of an altered, diluted, or substituted specimen

What is a refusal to provide a specimen?
Refusal to take a drug or alcohol test is defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

What happens to an employer that does not report a violation of the CDL Drug Testing Act?
An employer who knowingly fails to report an employee or applicant who violates the CDL Drug Testing Act may be fined up to $500. The employer may also be subject to a compliance review by the South Carolina State Transport Police or the FMCSA and may be subject to additional fines or penalties.

What are the consequences for an employer who hires a commercial driver in a safety sensitive position when the employer knows the employee is disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle?
The employer may be fined up to $2,000. The employer may also be subject to a compliance review by the South Carolina State Transport Police or the FMCSA and may be subject to additional fines or penalties.

What happens to a commercial driver employee who is reported for violating the CDL Drug Testing Act?
Commercial drivers who are reported for a CDL Drug Testing Act violation will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle within 20 days. The disqualification will be in place until the reinstatement process is complete. If a commercial driver is disqualified due to a drug or alcohol test violation more than three times within a five year period, he or she will be permanently disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle.

How can disqualified commercial drivers get their commercial driving privileges back?
They must complete an alcohol and drug abuse program approved by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services and pay a $100 reinstatement fee to the SCDMV.

How can I be sure that the substance abuse professional (SAP) I choose is approved?
Contact the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services at 803-896-5555 or visit its website for a registry of approved SAP providers.

Can commercial drivers who are disqualified from operating commercial vehicles continue to operate non-commercial vehicles?
Yes. Commercial drivers who have been disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle due to drug or alcohol test violations may get a non-commercial driver's license.

Will disqualified commercial drivers who revert their commercial class licenses to a non-commercial status be required to retake the commercial driver's license tests once the disqualification has ended?
No. Commercial drivers who revert to a non-commercial status due to a drug or alcohol test violation will not be required to retake the commercial driver license tests once the disqualification has ended unless their driver license has been expired for more than nine months or they have been disqualified for more than one year. However, because the commercial license is being reissued, all commercial drivers with hazmat endorsements will be subject to a Transportation Security Administration Threat Assessment.