Stepping Stones in Lincoln, Nebraska offers a unique education and counseling program for those working in safety-sensitive positions as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT) covered entities. The Safety-Sensitive Education and Counseling program at Stepping Stones in Lincoln, NE is conducted in a group setting and is specifically for individuals who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), have received a DOT violation due to a positive drug test, and have been evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and recommended to receive additional education and counseling services.


What does DOT consider a Safety-Sensitive Position?

Safety-sensitive function is defined as being from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time he/she is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing that work. Anyone designated in DOT regulations as a safety-sensitive employee is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. Industries that involve tasks a person performs that are defined as safety-sensitive functions subject to testing include aviation, commercial motor carriers, maritime, pipeline, railroad, and transit. Stepping Stones’s program is specifically for commercially licensed drivers.

Controlled Alcohol and Substance Testing Program

Most states have laws that govern workplace drug and alcohol testing, including specifics like when testing is permitted or required, who pays for testing, and what employers can do after a positive test. The types of tests are:

  • Pre-employment (required for controlled substances only, optional for alcohol)

  • Reasonable suspicion

  • Post-accident

  • Random

  • Return-to-duty

  • Follow-up

In the state of Nebraska, the Impaired Driving Task Force represents many agencies and organizations including law enforcement, driver licensing, treatment, highway safety, research and advocacy, and non-profit organizations. Stepping Stones in Lincoln is a non-profit organization that provides education and counseling to employees in safety-sensitive positions.

State law is not the only consideration for some employers. The DOT has implemented comprehensive regulations that govern drug and alcohol testing for individuals in safety-sensitive positions or holding commercial drivers’ licenses. Generally, commercially licensed drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads are considered to be performing “safety-sensitive functions” and are subject to the drug and alcohol testing requirements. This includes not only full-time drivers, but also part-time, intermittent, and backup drivers.

What Drugs does DOT test for?

DOT drug tests are conducted only using urine specimens. The urine specimens are analyzed for the following drugs/metabolites:


Marijuana metabolites/THC


Amphetamines (including methamphetamine, MDMA)


Cocaine metabolites


Opiates (including codeine, heroin (6-AM), morphine)


Phencyclidine (PCP)


What is a SAP?

Under DOT regulations, SAPs play a very important role in the workplace testing program by professionally evaluating employees who have violated DOT drug and alcohol rules. SAPs recommend appropriate education, treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare. They are the gate­keepers and determine when a safety-sensitive employee can be returned to duty.

SAPs are licensed professionals with clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse-related disorders. SAPs make recommendations about the employee’s readiness to perform safety-sensitive duties according to their professional and ethical standards as well as DOT’s regulations. To participate in the Safety-Sensitive Education and Counseling program at Stepping Stones, an individual must have completed an evaluation by a SAP.

Stepping Stones Education and Counseling Program

Safety-sensitive Education and Counseling is a group program specifically for individuals who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), have received a DOT violation due to a positive drug test, and have been evaluated and referred for additional services by a SAP. Stepping Stones in Lincoln provides a judgement-free environment for outpatient education and counseling.

The Stepping Stones’ counselors have years of training and experience helping individuals with drug and alcohol behavioral issues. Through this unique group program, they offer a treatment program that meets your needs and in a cost-effective manner. An outpatient follow-up program is typically one week, but can last longer based on the individual.

For more information regarding the cost, dates and times of sessions, and how to register to participate in the Stepping Stones Safety-Sensitive Education and Counseling program, call 402-327-6822.

Sources: US Dept of Transportation;; Nebraska DOT; Navigating Federal Regulations on Drug and Alcohol Testing of Safety-Sensitive Drivers, article by Woods & Aitken, 2014