Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (0s):

Well, we're going to be talking about fitness for duty in the workplace and fitness for duty. It's all encompassing for those in safety sensitive environments, such as trucking, which can include alcohol and drug testing, occupational health services. And of course, touching on a little bit of COVID-19 stuff.

Chris, Safety Dawg (18s):

And that was Jeremy from driver check. And that's what we are talking about today, but stay till near the end. When Jeremy starts talking about cognitive testing, it'll blow your mind. I didn't know that we were doing something like that. And it's just great. So that's right near the end of it. He drops out box.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (37s):


Chris, Safety Dawg (42s):

Welcome to Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. I'm your host, Chris Harris Safety Dawg. And when it comes to trucking safety, that Dawg is on it. Please. If you would show your appreciation for the podcast by leaving a thumbs up a comment, a rating, it would help me so much. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate you now. Let's get on with the show.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (1m 6s):


Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 13s):

Hey, Jeremy, welcome to the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. How in the heck are you?

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (1m 18s):

I'm doing very well. How about yourself? Excellent. Excellent.

Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 21s):

And in this COVID world of ours, Jeremy, before we get started, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get involved with driver check?

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (1m 32s):

Well, I've been a sales and marketing professional for the majority of my career. So now 20 years into my pro career, I guess you could say, and I'd taken a year. Like the stars actually really aligning for me. I was able to take a year off in 2015, 2015 when my son was born. And when I was ready to go back to the work workforce, I was really looking for something that could utilize my marketing passions and creativity.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (2m 3s):

And I live in Kitchener and I came across this brand manager opportunity with a company called driver check. And so I dug a little bit deeper and found that some of the stuff that they were doing with really fascinating and the alcohol and drug testing world be like a 15 minute drive from my house to quaint little air. And there is a town of a few thousand people. So not having to deal with like the four Oh one traffic. Again, I don't, I have so much respect for the trucking community because I don't have the patience to deal with traffic going to the GTA.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (2m 34s):

And the more I learned about driver check, like just when you're going in for interviews, you could feel real positive energy and vibe. And to me, culture is one of the most important things. And that's what really attracted me to drive a check.

Chris, Safety Dawg (2m 51s):

So you've been there about five years now, if you did this in 2015.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (2m 56s):

Yeah. I, sorry. I started in February, 2016. Oh,

Chris, Safety Dawg (3m 0s):

Cool. Yeah. So four years in that's right. And I imagine anybody working in the health field at the moment, and as we tape this, of course, most people know that we're in the midst of COVID 19 and yes, the, as we tape this things are being eased up a little bit here in Ontario, but I would imagine anybody in the health field during this has aged dramatically, how has COVID affected you?

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (3m 38s):

It has been a whirlwind. So I'm married with two youngsters. I have a little guy that spokes turned two next month and then a five and a half year old. So my wife and I have both been working from home full time and managing two little guys. And as chaotic as life is, I've really, really enjoyed the family time. Because as I mentioned, it was 2015 when I was a stay at home father. So I had a real good relationship with my, my newborn son.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (4m 10s):

And so now I'm getting a chance to do that with my two year old. So really relishing in the moments to have those things that can like six months ago saying that your nine to five was going to be managing work and balancing feeding your children and making sure they're finishing their school work and diapers getting changed. And I'm on zoom calls and I have kids jumping all over me with lightsabers. So it's been, it's been really a lot of fun driver checkouts has slowed down at all.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (4m 40s):

I'm working more busy than ever. And it's just because with everything changing so rapidly on the testing front and all the evolvements of workplace safety. And when can I bring a person back after they've had a positive or, you know, being around spouses or loved ones. So it's really fascinating how quickly things change. So personal life where we're hanging in there and actually enjoying it w with like, we miss fast food, we miss going out to the movies.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (5m 11s):

We missed doing all that stuff, but it is for the better, and then work life. I love, I get energized by new and exciting things. And so right now with how quickly things are evolving, there's never a dull moment with what's going on with COVID.

Chris, Safety Dawg (5m 29s):

Yeah. I think I'm with you. I I've really enjoyed it's. It's terrible to say I have enjoyed this time at home and being forced to not socialize nearly as much, but I'm an old guy. Do you think you're going to be able to return to the office? Like I imagine your job was a full time office job. Was it not before? COVID

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (5m 55s):

Really it's wherever I have a cell phone and wherever I have a computer

2 (5m 59s):

Is where I can work. So typically I would go into the office four times a week and I'd have a one day work at home anyways, and I manage the sales and marketing teams. And so the sales team they're either in the office making phone calls, or there are, you know, they're at customer meetings or they're at trade shows events, but now everyone's just working from home and making more phone calls or having more zoom calls like this. So I think we're not in a rush to get back to the office based on the roles that we do.

2 (6m 32s):

Like one of the ladies on our marketing team, she's been remote in up North alerter Lake for the last a year and a half. And so now we have a new found appreciation for what she's been going through, but we know we can do it. So we're not in a rush to get back, but for like the sales and marketing team, we don't need to be there, but there is other staff or driver check that will need to be in the office on for the day to day.

Chris, Safety Dawg (6m 55s):

Yeah, I think that's, it's cool. I think office work has changed for many companies permanently, you know, a friend of mine that, you know, that I used to work for an insurance company. And right now, of course, that office is basically shut down. They're all working from home. And even when they go back to work, they've been told that they'll work two weeks on two weeks at home, two weeks in the office, two weeks at home so that they can keep, you know, the, most of the people well separated in the office.

Chris, Safety Dawg (7m 28s):

Well, I wonder if that's ever going to change and will companies think, well, geez, maybe I've got too much office space. Not everybody has to come to work. They can, they're quite effective at home. Let's save money on rent, let the employees save a little bit of money on commuting and lunches and coffees and all that kind of stuff. I just wonder

2 (7m 48s):

You are preaching to the choir. That's exactly what's going to happen. They companies like so driver check's has been growing at a tremendous rate of work a lot, three, four years. And we, there's only so much building space and air. And now that we have the confidence in our staff, that they can still do the job very, very well from home. Why get a bigger building and do the rotating shifts? Like that's what you hear. Some companies do shared office space where you're in one or two days a week.

2 (8m 20s):

And, you know, I might be sitting here on Tuesday and Chris might be sitting here on Wednesday. So I think the rotate, I like the idea of the two week intervals so that you can have a full sanitized sanitization of the, between like almost having like two groups of workers that are in their own little silo or on bubble for the worksheets and keeping them. So I think that will happen.

Chris, Safety Dawg (8m 42s):

Yeah. And I mean, one other benefit to that. If, if somebody could ever create a software program that could do all this, you know, when the kids go back to school and this is way off topic, by the way. But you know, when the kids go back to school, I don't see all the kids going back to school. I think there's going to be some sort of rotation there and that's going to put, added stress on the parents. And then, so if the parents were working two weeks at home and two weeks in the office, if you and your wife could schedule it so that each of you were obviously on the opposite two weeks.

Chris, Safety Dawg (9m 18s):

Now, all of a sudden you don't have babysitters in that expense. Your kids are being cared for by their parents, which I think is way better than, than daycare. And I don't know, I just think it's a better relationship and everybody's winning. The kids are winning. The parents are winning and the companies are winning, you know, but Hey, what else? Hey, let's talk about drug testing. That's what I wanted you on the show for. Because a couple of weeks ago we were on a show together where we were talking about the future of trucking.

Chris, Safety Dawg (9m 52s):

You get into some things that I hadn't heard of about with the marijuana testing and stuff. So anyway, let's start off with do, who needs to be drug tested from a trucking standpoint, if we just talk about truck drivers and trucking companies.

2 (10m 8s):

Yeah. So in the trucking industry, you can almost put it into two pools, right? You have the DLT commercial drivers, people who are going from Canada to the U S and vice versa. That's one pool of drivers. And they're mandated to be in an alcohol and drug testing program through the FMC CSA, and then drivers who are not crossing the border for commercial vehicles in Canada are not mandated to say perform or be part of alcohol and drug testing programs. But each company treat employees like they have their own alcohol and drug testing policies.

2 (10m 44s):

So there are quite a few companies out there that do mandate they're non DOTD drivers, still are part of pools are still part of preemployment drug testings. But as far as like there's, it's black and white. Yes. If you're driving across the border, you must be in it.

Chris, Safety Dawg (11m 2s):

It sure is. And I think a lot of people forget. And one of the other things I wanted to make sure we talked about, because I don't totally understand it is the drug testing, clearing house drug and alcohol testing, clearing house. Can you just talk a bit about it? I know I've created a couple of videos on the YouTube channel, but who needs to be registered for the drug testing clearing house? What, what's the purpose of this clearing house and do drivers have to register?

Chris, Safety Dawg (11m 34s):

So there's three questions such all at once. So who needs to be registered for the drug test drug and alcohol testing clearinghouse, if I'm saying it

2 (11m 42s):

Right? Yep. No, you got it. So any deity trucking company or any trucking company that has a driver going across the border, they be registered with the clearing out with FMC CSA, any individual. And so like the way that, the way it works is the clearing house itself is an online database, which is operated by the FM CSA. So it contains like all the commercial drivers, alcohol and drug testing, violation history, and so that it can also track any testing requirements for someone who's on like return to work programs.

2 (12m 24s):

So then you have the employers, you have third party associations, like a driver check CPAs, and then you have medical review officers they're required to report any infractions or violations to the FMCSA. And the way it's set up is if I'm a driver and I'm, cause it's taken the ground was on January 1st, 2020. So if you're a driver that's going for a new job, part of your pre employment test would be to have a clear house check on you.

2 (12m 57s):

So Jeremy, as a new driver would have to create a profile about myself. And then I'm interviewing with a Safety Dawg for a job with his trucking company. And I would say, Hey, Chris, I've registered myself. Now Safety Dawg would do, or a TPA like a driver check would look at my Jeremy's history within the clearinghouse program

Chris, Safety Dawg (13m 20s):

Right now, just before we, I got two questions, but before we move on, if any drivers are watching this, I'll put a link in the disc in the show notes below. But I did a video of Chris Harris registering for the drug and alcohol clearing house as a truck driver. So I went through the process myself and videotaped it and put that online. So you don't know how to do it. It wasn't all that easy, by the way, Jeremy, I know this has nothing to do with driver check, but question for you though, if a trucking company has a driver that test positive, who reports this information to the clearinghouse, is it whose, whose responsibility is it?

Chris, Safety Dawg (14m 4s):

And then who reports it?

2 (14m 6s):

Yeah, very valid question. And it is a complicating program because it is so new, but as far as reporting, so Jeremy has gone for a, a preemployment drug test. It goes to the lab. It turns up positive or non negative till further investigation by our MRO team. But driver check would notify the company that there, there was a violation or a positive test result in Jeremy's profile.

2 (14m 36s):

And they would be then follow up with that individual

Chris, Safety Dawg (14m 41s):

And who tells the clearinghouse about this.

2 (14m 45s):

So when we find a positive test result, it'd be the TPA, like a driver check. We would inform the FMCs that Jeremy's profile. It had a violation, or it could be the company themselves. Cause there's a lot of the companies that manage the program themselves or say, if there's a medical review officer, they could also be responsible for reporting it.

Chris, Safety Dawg (15m 7s):

But if I, if I hire, if, if I'm in with driver check I've, I used using you guys for my drug testing consortium, I don't physically have to do anything. Then if somebody tests positive, you're going to do that on my behalf for me. You got it? Yeah. Okay. That's I wasn't sure. Quite honestly. So I'm glad we're talking about that. What's what's the purpose of the drug of the clearing house. I'll say the name wrong, but what's the purpose of the clearing house?

2 (15m 39s):

Well, really it was all about safety protecting our roadways. And the biggest reason is because even though people are mandated to be in a drug testing program, if you're a deal to DOTC driver, if I was working for employee a today or employer a today, I should say, I might have a positive drug test. And instead of me going through like SAP, like the substance abuse, professional process, or return to work, the proper process, I can essentially just say goodbye to my employer and go to apply to another job down the street where they might not drug test me, or I'll kind of get a second chance or maybe the drugs will have gone through my system or maybe I had a bad day and it's not judging people, but it's, they were just able to move from company to company and these infractions weren't being reported.

2 (16m 36s):

And so now if the clearing house, if Jeremy's had a violation at company, a if company B comes along to hire me to hire Jeremy, they would look at the, my history of the violations. And they would say, okay, well, sorry for Jeremy, we can't hire you because you have a violation. You still have to do your return to work testing and go through that process. So it's just for people jumping around and not reporting their violations.

Chris, Safety Dawg (17m 5s):

Yeah. I mean, I'd say it in a different way. I think there was a gap because exactly what you said, a person could quit. If they don't get the drug testing results from the other company, then they don't know about it. And that drug users still on the road driving a tractor trailer or a bus, there was a bus incident incident, by the way, where a bus driver, a tour bus company had a driver, he applied for a new job, failed the preemployment, so never quit his old job.

Chris, Safety Dawg (17m 39s):

And then he crashed his bus, killing several people and he was high at the time. And so that was one of the examples that they use when they came, created the drug testing house, just, there was a guy, there was a hole and people fell through the hole. So yeah,

2 (17m 56s):

That's a great example of it. What,

Chris, Safety Dawg (18m 2s):

When we were on that other podcast, you were talking or sorry, before we go there, I was just out of the TCA truckload carriers conference. And one of the fellows there was talking about drug testing and it was from an American point of view where he had maps up of how many States have legalized marijuana and how truck drivers, of course can't use marijuana. However, have we seen an increase in positive drug tests since Canada legalized marijuana?

2 (18m 36s):

Absolutely. It's really interesting. And again, you can break it down to those two pools, the VOT versus non DLT in the DOD world. We did see an increase immediately after legalization and DLT like drug testing shouldn't have been anything new to people that are already in program. So they've been doing it for, you know, 24 years or so, but what we did find is that there was an immediate increase and it went up by, I actually have a graph here, if you want me to share that screen with your curse.

2 (19m 13s):

Sure. So one cannabis was legalized in October, 2018. We definitely did see a spike. And again, driver driver check does more testing than just the trucking industry. The trucking industry specifically DDOT is used to drug testing. So it wasn't, we didn't expect to be a big jump in positive results, but outside of the trucking world of DOD specific, we did see a significant increase.

2 (19m 44s):

And so that's why this particular stats here on this slide show that we have seen a jump from about 2.4, 4% of positive rates actually just,

Chris, Safety Dawg (20m 0s):

That's like an 80% increase.

2 (20m 3s):

You, you got it. So pretty staggering and you can see how it trails, where it's gone to date. And so this is to me, the new norm as to where we should be expecting the positive rates. Cause it hasn't continued to peak. And so as it has flattened out, but then when you dig a little bit deeper and you compare DDOT, which is the white line on the graph versus <inaudible>, which is the red line and non DLT and driver techs, statistics is trucking within Canada only, but it could also be oil and gas, forestry, mining manufacturing.

2 (20m 40s):

So we've always seen the non has a higher positivity rate. So the positivity rate with that we found was 3.59% of the time, which is a bit of a jump obviously from earlier. But I was personally expecting it to be higher. The DLT did have a bit of a jump, but 14% in the grand scheme of things after legalization, but we've already started to see that taper back down, which is a really good thing.

2 (21m 10s):

And again, because drug testing wasn't anything new to the DOD world now that people have realized that, Hey, just because my state or country as legalized cannabis doesn't mean I can use it if I'm a Dawg driver. So they they've caught on every other industry hasn't necessarily except for the ones that have very high testing authority like testing levels. And just, just in case anyone's interested in what's going on across our core largest provinces.

2 (21m 46s):

You can see that Beastie is leading the way with the highest percentage of percentage points for THC at 4%.

Chris, Safety Dawg (21m 53s):

Let me see. I'm sorry. I'm just moving the well there. Sorry, just I'll make that a little bit smaller. I hope and there, okay, so there that's, now we can see what you're talking about. Sorry.

2 (22m 9s):

Yep. No worries. Yeah. So that just compares the, the provinces and the positive rates that we've seen for THC. So yeah, it has gone up got, I feel like that population of drivers have been responsible and the re the rest of the industries, they, you know, it did go up, but personally I was expecting it to go up more, but I think as there's advancements in testing and, you know, the verse, the urine test versus oral fluid it's,

Chris, Safety Dawg (22m 43s):

To me, that was interesting seek BC, is that where all the hippies moved? I don't know why BC went up so much.

2 (22m 56s):

I, I think BC is one of the loosest provinces, and we say looses a little bit more liberal, not politically, but just in, in general, I believe Alberta is a very conservative province and they hold safety in a very high regard. So I think testing measures and those safety sensitive industries are more stringent. So really when you look at the pockets of provinces and it's the same thing as what's going on with COVID and related travel, different territories and provinces kind of had their own regulations on how other Latin people come through and not come through.

2 (23m 36s):

You see it very commonly within the provinces as well.

Chris, Safety Dawg (23m 41s):

Well, yeah, the curse Alberta has a lot of oil and gas and they don't cross border, but they've had drug testing in their businesses for as long as I can remember. I know BC has some oil and gas, but nothing like Alberta, their whole economy is based on oil. So yeah, I would agree with that, that at least the workers there know that they're being drug tested on a more regular basis. And again, here in Ontario where you and I are from, they've just recently released in the last few months edibles.

Chris, Safety Dawg (24m 17s):

And I think we're going to see drinkables coming out soon or drinkables on the shelf yet for THC.

2 (24m 27s):

Not to my knowledge, not in Canada. I've heard a lot of different hype about it in the U S but I know that they've, if they were on the shelves, they shouldn't have been, they shouldn't have like, they weren't regulated properly. I'm not sure when it's supposed to be coming. I know there has been talk, but I don't foresee it this year. I think there was still a lot of regulations that had to go through and specifically not having beverages that were alcohol and cannabis infused. That was going to be a big no-no.

2 (24m 57s):

So you'll, you'll be more like your cannabis tea or your cannabis pop carbonated water.

Chris, Safety Dawg (25m 4s):

Well, I mean, to me, no, I haven't had any marijuana since I was a teenager, I think, or certainly my early twenties and I'm an old guy now, but back in those days when I did participate and it wasn't exactly legal either, but alcohol was always involved, you know, and that's usually what led me to, to smoking little that stuff. So anyways, and I did inhale in case you were going to ask,

2 (25m 36s):

Well, when you think about a curse, like if you go back those to those years, when you were consuming like marijuana, the strength of it has grown leaps and bounds. So T H D stay and you know, the seventies, eighties, nineties was probably around 3% THD and, you know, chances are, you probably got high. I'm not asking you to admit anything here. Well, you probably felt great or slightly impaired. And again, it's tough to know what's a mix of the alcohol.

2 (26m 8s):

You may have been consuming or the cannabis, but either way people were feeling something. And now today you're seeing strains of up to 30% THC. And so if you can imagine how you would have felt on something that was 3% THC at the times of that by 10. And then if the other, the newer trends is the concentrates. So like your, your oils or your dabs, your shatter,

Chris, Safety Dawg (26m 35s):

Right. I don't even know what the heck you're talking about oils. I know.

2 (26m 41s):

So, and some this stuff, like, it just boggles my mind. So I'm learning too, but like, it's a highly concentrated level of THC. So you think of cannabis. Everyone thinks of the pot leaves and the bud and flower, but now as labs been able to get their hands on it, it's the more concentrated love we'll have the teachers get flour. And now they're making that into almost like a powder or an oil with the THD concentration now up to like 90%.

2 (27m 15s):

And you can still smoke it in different forms, but having a joint, they in the seventies is far different than having say a shatter today. Where just, if you think about the levels of impairment and how people felt then, and compared to today, it's, it's scary.

Chris, Safety Dawg (27m 33s):

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, as I say, I haven't had, I stay away from the illegal stuff. I mean, I still have an, a Zed license in my pocket. Not that I've ever used it in the last 10 years, but if I ever had to, you know, I could potentially, and I mean, I go back to the days when I worked at T and T I was in the drug testing pool because we kept at least two office personnel in the drug testing pool, in case one of our owner operators ever tested positive on a random, then we could go down and bring the owner operator home and bring his truck home for him.

Chris, Safety Dawg (28m 8s):

So I'm familiar with driver check. I had to go several times, you know, Hey, it was, how has COVID affected drug testing? What, and what's driver check doing about random drug testing and how's that whole thing going with COVID with, you know, I just can't imagine having to do a drug testing right now.

2 (28m 37s):

Yeah. Very, very good question. And things have been changing all along. The one thing that hasn't changed is that the DOTC ran program is still continuing. So if you're a DOD driver, you're still part of that random pool across the board. As far as drug testing in all industries, we have seen a reduction and that reduction is cause a lot of people, you know, either are working or they're working for home. So they're not necessarily safety sensitive environments anymore, but because trucking is, you know, in essential service, that's why they didn't stop drug testing across the border.

Chris, Safety Dawg (29m 18s):

It's all interesting right now we're in such a strange, strange world. Hey, it was Jeremy. I want to be respectful of your time. This has been awesome. I've learned a lot. What else is there? What parting words would you have or what haven't we talked about yet that you wanted to make sure trucking companies heard about?

2 (29m 42s):

Well, I think the, one of the things I'm most excited about is what's evolved with alcohol and drug testing. And we talked about it a little bit on Bonnie showed the other week, but cognition testing. And so, yeah, so alcohol and drug testing has been around for 30 years, as you mentioned, the oil gas industry, and it's been urine based lab testing. So over the last 30 years, there's been all these advancements in technologies, but it's always really been around simply, are you impaired from using alcohol?

2 (30m 19s):

Like, do you have alcohol in your system or are you showing, you know, a positive drug test for methamphetamines and fat out of means the cannabis, cocaine, et cetera. Whereas cognition testing is looking at a person's overall ability to operate or do a job they flee.

3 (30m 40s):


2 (30m 42s):

When you're looking at cognition testing, it's looking at like a cognitive skills, like your alertness attention, concentration, your coordination, your memory reaction time, how you think about things, your judgment. So we're driver checks been working with a company named dr. Abel who's based out of Alberta, Edmonton, and they have got some fascinating technology, which they've been introducing to medical industries, commercial fleet brand, that and law enforcement.

2 (31m 18s):

And so these companies are using it as an assessment

3 (31m 23s):


2 (31m 23s):

Evaluate a driver's cognitive functions as it relates to driving. And what's really cool is they can actually look at the data and say, what are, what is the rate of performance for what a 20 year old would be able to do on these cognition tests versus say a 60 year old? And so there's no age as I'm an evolved because of all the years and years of research studies that they've done, they know what a six year old should be able to perform certain cognitive function like somebody who's healthy and normal, just like a 20 year old would probably be able to score differently than a six year old, but it's not impairing their ability from performing the test.

2 (32m 5s):

So it's not, there's no ageism. And what's actually really interesting. What's come out of it is instead of just determining Jeremy smoke to join or not, they're actually uncovering health concerns. And so there's this great example of there was a driver for busing company and he was actually one of their better drivers and had been for years. Then the company started getting reports that this driver was having some misses or near, near like near accidents where people on the bus have reported to the employer.

2 (32m 38s):

So the employer investigated because it was abnormal. But again, just like in the alcohol and drug testing world, this could have been a post incident or near miss a reasonable cause drug tests. So what this busing busing company did is they did this cognition test and the scores were way out of whack for this individual. For another wise, what we thought was a healthy individual, will it turned out he needed, needed triple bypass surgery. That's why he wasn't performing.

2 (33m 9s):

So he was able to undergo almost immediate surgery to clear that up. And now he's returned to driving. And again, you know, he's one of his best drivers. So that's where cognition testing, I think is really changing the landscaping for when an employer is looking to hire someone, not just looking at violations of alcohol and drug testing, but uncovering other serious health concerns. So that's what I'm, I'm pretty stoked about it.

Chris, Safety Dawg (33m 37s):

Well, I mean, that excites me because there's a lot of ways that we can be impaired or not safe to drive or do safety sensitive functions. And it's not always drugs. You know, I'm thinking of different diseases. As you had mentioned, can impair our ability to operate a vehicle safely. As I get older, I remember my mum, she quit driving around 76 or 78.

Chris, Safety Dawg (34m 7s):

She just made the choice that she no longer thought she was safe on the road anymore. So she said, I'm just going to quit driving. Now. She sold her car. So a test like this could be used, I think two in two ways, one, my 76 year old mother could have been tested. And you could have said, no, you're doing fine. And given her the confidence to drive another few years, or it could have also confirmed her suspicions that she's not very good on the road anymore.

Chris, Safety Dawg (34m 39s):

So is that really what this is? You call it cognitive, like I'll trip over that word a few times. Yeah. Cognition, cognition. Okay.

2 (34m 51s):

Sorry. Is that what it is? Yeah. Like you can call it cognition testing or cognitive.

Chris, Safety Dawg (34m 57s):

Okay. But that's what it is. Just testing the people's ability and it doesn't have to be drug or alcohol impaired ness. It's just any type of imperativeness.

2 (35m 10s):

Yeah. So they're looking at your abilities to do all these different tasks, like your ability to memorize or react quickly. And it's almost like a TA I've done the test myself. Luckily I passed. And because it's in front of all my coworkers, but literally following a ball or tracking where you see an object or they have, you do almost like a mini road tests like a simulator and you have to identify

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (35m 38s):

Things to be on the watch outs. So you might be watching something over here, but your reaction time to the squirrel versus the child over here. And so the test results will say, Jeremy performed, you know, on the level that we know from thousands and thousands of other people we've tested as to what a 42 year old would be able to operation off how they would be able to operate from their cognition ability.

Chris, Safety Dawg (36m 2s):

Well, that's really cool because I've, you know, I know people who are regular users of marijuana for instance, and they drive all the time, unfortunately. And I say, unfortunately in, you know, you've probably heard this many times being in, working for driver check, it doesn't affect me. And I honestly don't know whether it affects them or not, because they're such a regular user. Well, this cognitive test would be able to prove that either it does or it doesn't is that right?

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (36m 38s):

Yeah. In theory, it could, like, we don't know what impairment means with drug testing. Like there isn't that silver bullet, like we know of alcohol as I have this much alcohol in my system, we know Jeremy's impaired. There's nothing like that with cannabis or really for that matter, like cocaine, we have cutoff levels. So we know what we think, but to actually say conduct a study that yes, Jeremy's impaired from cannabis. We don't have that. But if you look at Jeremy's cognitive ability to perform function, and if I'm not scoring a certain threshold, then yeah.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (37m 12s):

Whether I'm a regular user or not that I shouldn't be driving. And even like people who have been smoking cannabis for years, like habitually or recreation or whatever, it's almost like an alcoholic. They build up a tolerance. Right. And you see some of these stories that come out and I follow a lot of sports. You see some of the stories come out of when these athletes are pulled over, it turns out that they are alcoholic staggering number of what their blood alcohol level was actually at like two or three times the legal limit.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (37m 47s):

And it's like, well, how is this person even alive? Well, as it turns out, they've been an alcoholic for years. You know, they are able to drink a 60 ounce or vodka in a day. You look at say Brett Barb from other football years. Like he had a lot of injuries, obviously being in football. I believe it was Buycott in that he was on. And to start off with one or two a day and after he was addicted, he'd be taking 30 or 40 a day. So people do become functioning addicts.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (38m 17s):

And so that's, you have no idea that, you know, Jeremy could be a cottage cause he's able to function the job that they're used to. But until you actually do these cognition tests, that's when you might actually find out it could be an underlying health matter, like saying the trucking world. There's a lot of truckers who leave live the necessary or truckers don't live the healthiest lifestyle, very sedentary, you know, not able to eat great food. And so there's a lot of obesity. And so there's a lot of telltale signs from some of those persons like physical attributes that might lead to say sleep apnea and then sleep apnea is going to keep you from having a good night's sleep.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (38m 60s):

And now you're driving a train or a plane or an automobile and not on, from a lack of asleep, you're going to have an accident which would never be showed up in a alcohol and drug test.

Chris, Safety Dawg (39m 10s):

Yeah. Well, and sleep apnea. I kind of know about that because I've got my C-PAP machine and use it on a regular basis. I say, regular, I use it every night. You know, they just, and thank God I have it because I know what, go ahead.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (39m 29s):

I was going to say like, what, what is the difference like from when you weren't using it to when you were like, do you feel that much better?

Chris, Safety Dawg (39m 37s):

Well, because again, this is back in my insurance days, thank God because I had benefits because those machines are expensive, but I went to my doctor and I said, look, it, I've got this symptom. I was falling asleep in the afternoon. My territory used to be Windsor. And I lived in Mississauga. I couldn't make it from Windsor to Mississauga without having to pull over and having a nap. I just couldn't do it anyways. I knew all the signs from my work with the insurance company and, and trucking.

Chris, Safety Dawg (40m 7s):

And I went there and I said, this, you know, I'm doing this, I'm doing this, I'm doing this. I need to be sleep apnea tested. And that first he said, no, no, because I was overweight 25 or 30 pounds probably overweight, which I'm six foot. So I mean, that's not, I was borderline obese according to the BMI index. But anyways, so when he did test me yep. They said, yeah, you're I was in the mid level. I forget theirs. Is there three different levels of sleep apnea, mild, moderate, and severe or something.

Chris, Safety Dawg (40m 42s):

So I was in the middle, but they said, yeah, you need a machine. And as soon as I got on the machine within days, all of a sudden I could make that drive again from Windsor to Toronto without having to pull over for a nap. I remember I shouldn't tell this story, but I will. I fell asleep at my desk in the office and I, thank God. I just had come back from Calgary and the girl who caught me sleeping, cause literally I was trying to type out a report and I dozed off. She said, yeah, those late flights coming from Calgary are killer aren't they?

Chris, Safety Dawg (41m 15s):

Oh yeah, yeah. But I knew it wasn't the flight, it was sleep apnea. And I had just been tested. I hadn't got my machine yet, but anyways, I no longer fell asleep at my desk at work. After I got the machine, nevermind. Trying to operate a truck or any safety piece of equipment, you know? But anyway, so what did I feel? I feel wonderful in comparison. And just more recently, I've changed my diet a bit and I'm down like 14 pounds.

Chris, Safety Dawg (41m 49s):

And that makes me feel wonderful because, you know, and I really feel sorry for truck drivers, because as you've mentioned, it is sedentary. It's really hard for them to eat well on the road and get some exercise while on the road, you know, any, go ahead. Sorry.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (42m 10s):

No, I was going to say, I agree. It's you have to be very motivated to make change and to be very diligent in getting out of your cab, walking around, getting your exercise, but just the amount of fast food availability versus good food. And now with COVID, you know, I've heard a lot of horror stories about how hard it is just to that a good hot meal. Right? And so if I, that me really pisses me off is that we can't even open up more food, like food essential services or access to washrooms for people that are doing essential services and keeping the economy open, at least we can do is feed them and give them water like that.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (42m 55s):

To me, just pisses me off.

Chris, Safety Dawg (42m 58s):

Yeah. Hail hail one second. Now, now you got me. Hopefully you can see that. Yes.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (43m 7s):

Loving what they've been doing. That's awesome.

Chris, Safety Dawg (43m 9s):

So that shirt is from any just so the, the viewers can know and any L is it in, I'm not Woodstock. W what's the truck stop? They've been populating. Oh, seven 30 truck stop. It's near London anyways. Yeah.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (43m 29s):

Right. 30 or, yeah,

Chris, Safety Dawg (43m 31s):

They've been giving out free food and water one day a week. I think just about every week since COVID started to thank a truck driver. So that was the least I could do was to support their cause by buying it a tee shirt, you know,

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (43m 47s):

I, I follow NHL on LinkedIn. So I've seen all the posts that they're doing. When's the team are doing. It's awesome. Just to be out there and thanking drivers. So shout out to them. Yeah.

Chris, Safety Dawg (44m 0s):

It's, it's great. They're doing a great job, Jeremy. I want to thank you so much for coming on the show. That was awesome. I really, especially the cognitive testing part I hadn't wasn't aware of before is that, sorry. I got to ask you another question. Now I just thinking about it, is that inner near future or is it further down the road than what I would like to think

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (44m 25s):

It is now? There are, there are trucking companies using it now and still how much it's actually evolved and where it's going to be going for the future. I think it's going to totally change the landscape as to like hiring practice. So I'll start to open it up. Not just a, some companies might do physical abilities testing, you know, can I be able to get up and down so many flights of stairs or a ladder, or being able to, you know, load a truck or unload a truck.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (44m 58s):

Whereas cognition is looking at the overall person's health. So there'll be all encompassing. But I also think it'll play in part with some of these other programs that are already existing, but I think it's going to start opening up very soon. Like it's been around for a few years, but there's always new applications and there's always new research coming out so available today, but transforming tomorrow,

Chris, Safety Dawg (45m 24s):

But it's not replacing drug testing,

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (45m 28s):

Not today, you know, maybe 20 years down the road. Like I think there's always going to be an evolution of early adopters and different safety, sensitive industries are willing to try new and different things. So there's going to be a champion within a certain industry that might really push for drug testing to be, or not drug testing, cognition testing for it to be the end, all be all. But it would take a lot of people to convince, to scrap alcohol and drug testing just because of the years.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (46m 1s):

And the size has gotten into it. Maybe, maybe one day. Right. But maybe it's also eventually just like a rapid eyes scan of Jeremy's eyeball. And if I blink twice, it means I'm impaired. So if it's blink once it means I'm not, I don't know where it's going to be there.

Chris, Safety Dawg (46m 19s):

That's cool. Well, unfortunately it doesn't sound like it's going to be around for me and my drug testing. Cause I'm too old for that. But for your generation, maybe Jeremy, thanks. Thanks so much for being on the Dawg on a trucking podcast. I really enjoyed this. Thank you.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (46m 37s):

Thank you so much. And I have one last thing for you, Chris. You inspired me last time with your nice hair. So I want to make sure I have this handy.

Chris, Safety Dawg (46m 47s):

Oh, the Buffalo fan. So here just one second. I've got to see now I could put this on of course. And so you know where that came from? Obviously, I don't know how old this is. I've had this for a few years, but this is what Jeremy's referring to. So

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (47m 13s):

The good luck you look like a professional golfer.

Chris, Safety Dawg (47m 16s):

Hey, I wish I'd made their money. Alright, Jeremy, thanks so much. Have a great day.

Jeremy Thiel, DriverCheck (47m 24s):

Yeah. Thanks for having me Safety Dawg.

Chris, Safety Dawg (47m 26s):

I hope you love the show as much as I did, please. Us a like a thumbs up a review, a comment, a rating. If it is, thank you so much. And I do really appreciate your time and join us again next week for another exciting injury.

Check out my School Bus Video


covid, drivercheck, fit for duty, Safety Dawg, Truck Driver

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