When are commercial drivers subject to drug and alcohol testing?

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Commercial drivers must abide by many regulations that a layperson does not. These include federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing. There are regulations that specify when drug or alcohol testing is required.

-- Pre-employment: All new drivers must pass a drug test in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle on a public road. Alcohol testing may also be required if all drivers have to take the test. Should a driver be removed from the pool for random testing for over 30 days, then he or she will need to pass the pre-employment testing again.

-- After an accident: If a driver is involved in a fatal accident or is issued a traffic citation for his or her role in an accident that disabled a vehicle or caused an injury, then he or she must have a drug test in 32 hours and an alcohol test in 8 hours.

-- Random testing: Drivers are subject to random drug testing, even when they are at home and not driving. Alcohol testing may be required when a driver is getting ready to drive, on-duty or right after driving. Immediate response is needed when told about the random test. If delayed, the driver could be hit with a positive test for refusing to take it.

-- Reasonable suspicion: If a supervisor trained by the Department of Transportation believes that a driver is exhibiting signs of alcohol or drug abuse, then he or she may direct the driver to take an alcohol test, drug test or both.

-- Return-to-duty and Follow-up: If a driver has completed the process for returning to duty and wants to return to driving, then he or she must pass the alcohol and drug test. Follow-up drug and alcohol tests are for those who have been identified as having a substance abuse problem.

As you can see, alcohol and drug testing is a vital part of driving a commercial vehicle. For those who are injured in a truck accident, the results of those tests could be very important in a civil lawsuit.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Federal Drug & Alcohol Testing Regulations," accessed Nov. 13, 2015

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