Thursday, September 8, 2011

DOT Supervisor Training and Reasonable Suspicion Trap 1: “I haven’t had a drink since last night!”

Here is another tip for you to consider in your DOT Supervisor Training.
In the heat of the moment, this excuse can seem quite reasonable, especially for those of us who have had a few late nights ourselves. Here’s something you probably won’t consider in the heat of the moment—just how long ago was “last night”?

Depending on when your employee stopped drinking, it can be as few as 3-4 of hours. Knocking off at 4am and catching a couple hours of sleep before work may fool your employee into thinking it’s a new day, but he can’t fool his body. Sleeping doesn’t metabolize alcohol and sober you up any faster than if you were awake.

But isn’t even 4 hours long enough to sober up? Not necessarily. Don’t make the mistake of projecting your own consumption habits onto your employee. He may have consumed an amount that far exceeds your own capacity. If your employee has a substance abuse problem, it’s far more likely that he’s been engaging in binge drinking. Having 10 or more drinks in one sitting is not unheard of.

Employees who have a high tolerance to alcohol could have their last drink late at night and still be under the influence well after sunrise. They don’t have to drink just before coming to work or first thing in the morning to be under the influence. Don’t let this statement convince you that a test is unnecessary.