How Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Keeps Our Roads Safe

It’s safe to say that nearly all of us understand why DOT regulations regarding drug and alcohol use exist. But it’s also safe to wonder exactly what drug and alcohol screening entails. This blog will help you understand the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rules and regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing for truckers and how HDS Safety and Compliance can help your company stay safe and compliant.

What Does the Drug Test Entail?

The Department of Transportation requires a five-panel drug test for the detection of the following narcotics:

  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (like heroin or morphine)
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine, better known as PCP

The Department of Transportation only recognizes urinalysis (urine tests) as a valid form of drug testing, and although many drug compounds can be out of a person’s system in a matter of days (like cocaine), drug screens still prove to be a major deterrent.

Why Are Truckers Drug Tested?

Before a trucker is able to work as a truck driver, they must undergo drug and alcohol screening. Once they’re hired, truckers are often randomly tested, meaning that they are ordered to report to a testing location within a given amount of time, regardless of whether or not they are on-duty or off. In addition, all truck drivers are required to be tested for alcohol within 8 hours of a fatal accident as well as drug tested within 32 hours. Finally, the law allows for “reasonable suspicion” tests which are triggered by either the behavior, speech, or even smell of the trucker (and obviously the smell in question isn’t garlic, it’s liquor!) If a trucker fails a test, they must pass a series of “return to duty” tests, but it’s safe to say that a negative test can easily place a  trucker’s career on the road in jeopardy.

All of these regulations and opportunities for testing make it extremely difficult for a person with an alcohol or drug problem to be behind the wheel of a 40-ton semi. The stringent regulations, in addition to the efforts of companies like HDS Safety and Compliance, make our roadways safer without the average driver even knowing about it. If you want to learn more about how drug and alcohol screening for your company, call us at 1-800-800-7801 or contact us on the web today.