DOT Refusals to Test: The BAT Decides
It is very important that a Breath Alcohol Technician be familiar with the behaviors that DOT regulations state are “Refusals to Test” and other behaviors that are not considered to be refusals. The consequences to an employee for refusing an alcohol test are very serious and are the same consequences as having a positive alcohol test of .040 or greater. In many cases, a Breath Alcohol Technician is the individual who usually determines if the employee’s behavior is a refusal, so it is vital the BAT make the correct judgement when determining a refusal to test.
DOT Refusals To Test where the BAT decides:
- Employee refuses to sign Step 2 of the Alcohol Testing Form: Regardless of the reason the employee gives for not signing the form, it is an automatic refusal and the BAT does not proceed with test without the employee’s signature.
- Employee does not blow into the Evidential Breath Testing device (EBT): In this situation, even though the employee has signed Step 2 of the form, at the moment of being instructed to blow into the EBT, the employee refuses to do so. The employee makes no attempt to provide a breath sample.
- Employee fails to cooperate with the testing process: There are many behaviors that fall under this category. These behaviors are best described as a failure to cooperate with the testing process that prevents the BAT from completing the test. The BAT should exercise careful judgement in these situations given the severe consequences of a refusal to test. The BAT should give the employee a warning and advise the employee of the consequences associated with a refusal to test. However, there is no requirement for a BAT to tolerate ongoing and uncooperative behavior. A BAT may terminate the testing process at any point because of an employee’s uncooperative behavior.
- Employee fails to remain at the testing site: The testing process is completed when all breath alcohol tests (Screening test and, if necessary a Confirmation test), are completed. Therefore, it is considered a refusal to test when an employee fails to remain at the testing site until the testing process is fully completed.
Steps to take for a refusal to test:
In those situations where a BAT has judged the employee’s behavior as a refusal to test, the BAT stops the testing process and immediately notifies the DER of the refusal.
Sometimes the DER decides:
There are other behaviors that the DOT deems “refusals to test”, but are typically judged as such by the Designated Employer Representative or DER.