Article About Reasonable Suspicion Training

This article is a researched article that I did for a drug testing company. I knew nothing about what I was writing about, which proves that research, thought, and careful writing are way more important than origin knowledge about a topic. This is also keyword optimized and formatted for readability, which I’m quite proud of…especially since the topic was a little…dry.

I still really enjoyed writing this blog (and the other six or seven in the project), and it was a great change from my usual fair of “fluffier” content.

Should Tribal Organizations Conduct Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors?

When it comes to Native American tribes and Indian reservations, sometimes the rules can be trickier because Indian reservations are considered domestic dependent nations, meaning that they are managed by federal rules, not the rules of the state they are in[1]. Thus, we need to look at federal regulations instead of state regulations when considering if tribal organizations need to conduct reasonable suspicion training for their supervisors.

When Does a Supervisor Need Reasonable Suspicion Training?

According to federal law, a supervisor needs reasonable suspicion training when they have been designated to supervise people in safety-sensitive positions, such as truck drivers, pilots, railroad workers, coast guards, and some pipeline and hazardous material employees[2]. The Omnibus Act of 1991 clarified the DOT rules that were published in 1988[3] and indicates that civic organizations, churches, and Indian tribes were not exempt from this policy. Knowing this, we can assume that if a tribal organization is involved in any of these things on a commercial level, all supervisors should participate in reasonable suspicion training.

Aren’t Indian Reservations Exempt from FMCSRs?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), because tribes are considered equivalent to a State governmental entity, they are exempt from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)[4] under §390.3(f)(2). This may make it seem as if tribal drivers are exempt from certain laws that apply to CMVs, such as drug testing and alcohol testing requirements, thus exempting supervisors from reasonable suspicion training.

However, this is not the case. While tribes are exempt from FMCSRs, there are exceptions to the exemptions, including:

  1. Drug testing requirements.
  2. Alcohol testing when an employee is performing, about to perform, or just performed safety-sensitive functions.

Therefore, supervisors of safety-sensitive employees, tribal or not, should be properly trained in reasonable suspicion.

If a CDL is Required

Federal laws and standards require States to issue CDLs to employees that operate a CMV. If a driver operates a CMV and operates in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce, they are required to have a CDL. If a person is required to have a CDL, their supervisor requires reasonable suspicion training[5]. Because this is a federal law, Indian tribes must also comply.

What if the Transportation is Only Occasional?

Under §390.3(f)(3), occasional transportation of personal property – when not for money or business – does not require people to obtain a CDL license and thus does not require a supervisor. Because a supervisor is not required, no reasonable suspicion training is required. Occasional personal property transport examples include moving boats, cars, and horses without compensation.

I Still Don’t Know If My Supervisors Need Reasonable Suspicion Training

The US Department of Transportation has compiled a brief survey that will help you understand if you or your supervisors are covered by DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations[6]. You can access this tool on their website.

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/390

[2] https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/agencies

[3] https://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/drug-and-alcohol-testing-rules-an-overview.html

[4] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/390

[5] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/drivers

[6] https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/am-i-covered

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