With so many commercial vehicles on the road, safety is essential in the trucking industry. One of the most important requirements to maintain safe travel is drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the Department of Transportation (DOT), sets the requirements for when trucking companies must drug test their drivers. 49 CFR Part 382 C of the FMCSA regulations outlines when screening is required by law.
You will need to screen your drivers for illegal drug use and alcohol abuse at these times:
Motor carriers must screen their CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers for drug use before they perform any safety-sensitive functions for the company. This means that you must complete the drug test and confirm a negative result before the new employee drives a CMV (commercial motor vehicle). The FMCSA does not require alcohol testing before employment, but it does set regulations if you do choose to screen for alcohol. For example, you must perform the same testing on all safety-sensitive employees, so if you desire to alcohol test, you must do this for every new hire.
Random Drug Screening
Random drug tests help continuously ensure that your employees are not using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol. For random screening, the FMCSA does require both drug and alcohol testing. You must randomly select employees to test from a pool of all safety-sensitive workers. The FMCSA sets a percentage each year of how many employees you must screen during each testing period. This is based on the number of violations in the industry as a whole.
When a supervisor has a reasonable suspicion that a driver is using controlled substances or alcohol on the job, they are required to perform a drug test or alcohol test for that employee. Once reasonable suspicion is identified, the driver in question must complete screening promptly. Only officials who are trained in reasonable suspicion can request this type of test. HDS Safety Services offers training to help your supervisors understand the reasonable suspicion guidelines set by the FMCSA.
Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing
If a commercial driver is involved in an accident while on the job, it may be necessary to screen for drug or alcohol use. This is based on the type of damage. If there was a human fatality, the FMCSA requires you to test your driver under all circumstances. If there was an injury to another driver that required immediate medical treatment away from the scene, or if another vehicle was damaged and towed away, you only need to screen for drug or alcohol use if there was a citation.
Return-to-Duty After Testing Positive
When a driver refuses a drug or alcohol test, has a positive result, or otherwise violates FMCSA regulations, they will need to cease safety-sensitive duties immediately. A DOT-qualified substance abuse professional will supervise the return-to-duty process for this individual. The driver will need to meet all of FMCSA’s requirements, which includes an observed drug and/or alcohol screening. A negative result is required before they can resume safety-sensitive tasks.
HDS Safety Services
Helping You Meet Drug Test Requirements
If you operate a trucking company, it is essential that you follow all DOT and FMCSA regulations for drug testing. HDS Safety Services can help you stay compliant with drug and alcohol testing. We also offer non-DOT tests for employers who want to take extra steps to keep their employees and others safe on the road.