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CDL disqualifications: Testing positive on the Department of Transportation test for drugs or alcohol

How long will my license be disqualified?

  • 10 years or until the first 2 items needed to re-qualify are met, whichever comes first, if you were a CDL holder and have been disqualified for one year or more or if you never held a CDL.
  • For life, if you have 3 positive tests within 5 years.

How do I re-qualify?

  • Have an alcohol/drug assessment by a substance abuse professional (SAP).
  • Provide evidence that you have successfully completed or participated in an approved alcohol/drug treatment or education program as recommended by the SAP.
  • Pass the Commercial Driver License (CDL) knowledge and driving tests.
  • For a hazardous materials endorsement, pass a separate knowledge test. (We also may require you to show us a letter from the Transportation Security Administration stating you passed their background check.)
  • Pay a $150 re-qualification fee and any licensing fees.

Note: You can't re-qualify from a lifetime disqualification.

Can I appeal the disqualification?

You may request a hearing within 20 days of the date on the notification letter you received from us. For more information, see How to request a hearing.

What issues will be considered at the hearing?

  • Whether you were the person who took the drug or alcohol test.
  • Whether your employer has a safety program that meets federal motor carrier requirements.
  • Whether the officer or technician who performed the test accurately followed the procedures needed to certify test results.

Related laws

Questions? Need help?

Call us: 360.902.3900 (TTY: Call 711)

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