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How Truck Driver Drug Tests Work

Monday, May 08, 2017By Richard Alexander

Driving a semi-truck is a big responsibility. The impact of getting into a car accident with a big rig is more severe than with another car. Driving any vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never safe. However, driving a semi under the influence puts a far greater danger on the roads. "The United States Congress recognized the need for a drug and alcohol free transportation industry and, in 1991, passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, requiring DOT agencies to implement drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees."

Drug and alcohol testing is required for drivers who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). They are tested for several substances. These include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates (opium and codeine derivatives), amphetamines and methamphetamines, and phencyclidine or PCP. This testing is conducted through analysis of a urine sample.

All drivers who hold CDLs are required to participate in random drug and alcohol testing when they are subject to operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV). A new employer must test all such employees before they are allowed to drive such vehicles. These drivers are also required to be tested if they have been off of work for an extended time and are returning to work. CDL drivers can also be subjected to testing if there is reasonable suspicion that they might be operating under the influence.

One of the most important categories of testing is called "post-accident" testing. Any commercial driver involved in an accident is required to complete drug and alcohol testing within eight hours of the crash. The blood alcohol levels must be below .04, and the drug tests must be negative for the driver to be allowed to continue to operate a commercial vehicle.

If a driver who holds a CDL fails the drug and alcohol testing, he or she will not be allowed to continue to drive a CMV and will be required to work with a substance abuse professional (SAP) before returning to work as a commercial driver. If that SAP approves the driver to return to work after a positive test, the driver will be required to participate in continued follow-up testing for at least 12 months and up to five years.

You can rely on the compassionate San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP to guide you through the difficult time that follows a crash with a big rig. We are here for our clients and will passionately seek appropriate compensation for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

While the results that we have obtained in other cases and our clients' testimonials do not guarantee, promise or predict the outcome of your case, we do promise to do our very best for you in your case.

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