The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Returning to Duty after DISA

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Returning to Duty after DISA

DISA Return to duty

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to undergo a drug and alcohol screening program called the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. If a driver violates the drug and alcohol program rules, the driver is placed on a Return to Duty process by the DOT. The DISA Return to Duty process is aimed to ensure that the driver is fit to return to work and ensure the safety of the public. If you are a truck driver or someone who is going through the Return to Duty process, this guide is for you.

1. Know your return to duty process roadmap

The return to duty process is not an easy one, but having a roadmap can make it bearable. The first step is identifying the nature of your violation. The DOT requires individuals who violate drug and alcohol testing regulations to complete a substance abuse program that meets DOT standards, in addition to a DISA return-to-duty (RTD) process. The RTD process is a series of steps that a driver must complete before returning to work.

2. Choose your Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is an individual who evaluates employees who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol at work. The SAP performs an evaluation to determine the level of care required by the driver and then refers them to an appropriate treatment provider. It is essential to choose a certified SAP as they are trained to conduct assessments and make recommendations for substance abuse treatment.

3. Stick to your treatment plan

Once you have been evaluated by a SAP and referred to a treatment provider, it is essential to stick to your treatment plan. Completing a substance abuse program is a crucial part of the return to duty process. It could be a structured outpatient program, an intensive outpatient program, or an inpatient program. You will need to show that you have completed the program and provide proof of completion to the SAP.

4. Pass the Return to Duty Test

Before you can return to work, the DOT requires a return-to-duty drug test. Once you complete your treatment plan, you will need to take a Return-to-duty test. The test is different from a normal drug test in that it is directly observed, and the sample collection process is monitored. The results of the Return to Duty Test must be negative for all materials tested for.

5. Follow-up testing

After passing the Return to Duty Test, you will need to complete follow-up testing. The DOT requires a minimum of six follow-up tests over the first 12 months after returning to work. Random testing is coordinated with your employer to ensure that you stay drug-free.


Returning to duty after DISA is a process that requires focus, discipline, and commitment. It is a process that can take time, but it’s a process that needs to be taken seriously. It is crucial to choose a certified SAP, stick to your treatment plan, pass the Return to Duty Test, and complete your follow-up testing to ensure success. As you navigate through this process, remember that the DOT and employers are committed to your success, and it takes teamwork to complete this journey.

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