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Important things to know about drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers

There are many protocols and procedures in place that can help to assure the safety of commercial drivers and all other people on the road. One of those categories of procedures involves drug and alcohol testing. Here is what you need to know about that type of testing for commercial drivers.

Who needs to complete drug and alcohol testing?

Check with your employer or prospective employer and the Department of Transportation (DOT), but generally, all drivers who have commercial driver licenses (CDL) must complete drug and alcohol testing. No matter whether a CDL driver is working full-time, part-time or in any other capacity, drug and alcohol testing is required.

What does testing analyze?

Drug tests are looking for the presence of these types of drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Opiates, including opium and codeine derivatives
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines and amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine, or PCP

Alcohol tests look to see if there is a concentration of 0.02 of alcohol or higher.

In addition to the testing required by the DOT, some employers require their own testing that may look for the presence of drugs in addition to those listed above. It is essential for all truck drivers to stay informed on what drug and alcohol tests and procedures are required by their employer and by the DOT.

When does drug and alcohol testing take place?

There are some key times when drug and alcohol testing usually take place. Before a person is hired to be a commercial driver for a company, the potential employer will require the candidate to complete the tests. Also, after the commercial driver has been involved in a truck accident, the person will be required to complete drug and alcohol testing.

Testing procedures.

Needless to say, drug and alcohol testing can be complex, as there are numerous set procedures to follow. But even so, commercial drivers must strictly follow the required procedures, with the ultimate goal of safety being top of mind.

The US DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) offers a handbook titled What Employees Need to Know About DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing to help workers become informed about the process.

If a drug or alcohol test is positive, meaning that a drug or alcohol is present, the candidate or employee should work closely with the employer or prospective employer to resolve the situation.

It is clearly dangerous for any driver operating a commercial vehicle to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug that can affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Thus, drug and alcohol testing procedures aim to verify that drivers are not being influenced by any such substances. Commercial drivers should be sure to comply with all drug and alcohol testing requirements of both the DOT and all current or prospective employers.

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