Commercial Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Testing

Distracted Truck Driver

While it is unlawful for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the federal law requires specific testing for commercial carriers, employers, and operators. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with the Department of Transportation (DOT), requires that persons subject to the commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements and their employers follow alcohol and drug testing rules. These rules include procedures for testing, frequency of tests, and substances tested for. While it is the employer’s responsibility to provide the truck driver with information on drug and alcohol testing programs, it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to obey all applicable rules and regulations in order to keep the roads safe.

Since it is not practical to screen an entire worker population for drugs, the FMCSA mandates only a certain minimum percentage of a trucking company’s drivers go through the process each year. Unfortunately, negligent trucking companies try to bypass drug and alcohol testing requirements, knowing full well their fleet runs the risk of drug and alcohol test failures and the catastrophic consequences that can follow.

When Do Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Tests Happen?

  1. Pre-employment: An employer must receive a negative drug test result before permitting a CDL driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle (such as an 18-wheeler truck).
  2. After an accident occurs: Drug and alcohol tests may be required after crashes, depending upon the circumstances of the accident.
  3. Random testing: CDL drivers must be randomly tested throughout the year. These tests can occur at anytime, regardless of when the driver last operated a commercial vehicle.
  4. Reasonable suspicion: Drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol are subject to immediate testing.
  5. Return to duty: Drivers who previously tested positive, refused a drug or alcohol test, or otherwise violated the law must complete the return-to-duty process. This test is directly observed, and a negative result is required before resuming driving duties.
  6. Follow-up: After returning to duty under Item Five, ongoing testing is prescribed for a minimum of six directly observed tests in 12 months, but can be extended.

Texas Truck Driver Accident Lawyers

If an impaired truck driver injured you or someone you care about, immense physical damage and steep medical expenses are only part of the suffering victims must deal with. In addition to these costs, the injured party will no doubt experience mental anguish, lost hours and wages on the job, along with potentially diminished earning potential in the future. Our experienced truck accident legal team has the experience and skill necessary to fight for your legal rights, so contact us today.

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