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Commercial Drivers Drug and Alcohol Testing – Part One

By November 28, 2011August 22nd, 2018

Just about all industries today have at least one employee who drives at some point during the work day to perform company work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees an extensive testing and education program to help employers protect the public against drivers who use controlled substances and/or alcoholic beverages during their work. We will discuss the program in two parts. Part one will focus on the actual regulations and who is subject to the program. Part two will discuss compliance and consequences of non-compliance.

Nationally, drivers must comply with the following:

  • .04 is the maximum blood alcohol level for persons operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The driver cannot possess any non-manifested (listed) drugs or alcohol in his vehicle.
  • No on-duty use of drugs or alcohol is permitted, including avoidance of use within four hours before operation or eight hours following an automobile accident.
  • They cannot refuse either a random or post-accident drug or alcohol test.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Definition – Under the rules, a commercial motor vehicle is one that has a gross combined weight (GCW) of more than 26,000 lbs.; that is made to carry 16 or more passengers (including driver); or that is used to transport hazardous material.

Drivers are required to tell their employers when they are using any therapeutic or prescription drugs. Testing must be performed prior to offering employment, within a certain time after an accident, and at random times. If justified, testing can be ordered for a driver. However, that can only take placed if a trained person has a reasonable suspicion that the driver is affected by drugs or alcohol. Further, testing is required of employees who are returning to the job after they have been relieved of duty due to a previous, positive test.

Implementing a drug and alcohol testing program for your business is an excellent risk management policy that will mitigate your liability. For more information, contact an insurance professional at The Flanders Group.