Possible Loopholes in Drug Testing Rules for Commercial Truck Drivers

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on May 30, 2019 in Auto Accident

handing drug test kit to someoneOperating a commercial truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. If a crash occurs under these circumstances, there is a much greater risk of it resulting in serious or even fatal injury.

This is why the commercial trucking industry has various regulations on drug and alcohol testing of drivers, including testing after a crash occurs. The problem is there are some loopholes that could allow drivers with drug and alcohol problems to continue operating commercial vehicles, putting others on the road at risk. The dedicated Portland truck accident attorneys at Rizk Law can review your case and determine if an impaired truck driver was involved in your case. We can discuss how this can affect your claim for compensation.

When Does Testing Occur?

Trucking companies are required to conduct drug testing at the following times:

  • Pre-employment – Truck drivers must receive a negative drug test result before they can be permitted to drive a commercial vehicle.
  • Post-accident – Truck drivers might be required to do a test after a crash, depending on specific circumstances.
  • Random – Trucking companies must randomly test drivers throughout the year.
  • Reasonable suspicion – Employers can test drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Return-to-duty – If a driver tested positive, refused a drug test, or otherwise violated the drug and alcohol testing requirements, he or she must receive a negative test result before being able to return to duty.
  • Follow-up – The substance abuse professional who cleared the driver to return to duty must administer at least six tests within 12 months of the driver returning to duty after a positive test result, a refusal to undergo testing, or a violation of the drug and alcohol testing requirements after completion of the substance abuse return-to-duty procedure.

Training for Supervisors on Alcohol/Drug Problems

Employers are required to train supervisors on ways to detect the symptoms of drug or alcohol impairment. However, trucking companies are not required to provide recurring training to supervisors. Also, reasonable suspicion testing and training requirements do not apply to a situation in which the employer is the owner and operator and the only employee.

Post-Accident Testing

A drug test is necessary after an accident if it involved a fatality and the driver was issued a citation. Drug testing is also necessary if the accident caused a bodily injury that resulted in the need for immediate medical treatment away from the scene. Additionally, if a citation was issued and the accident caused disabling damage to a motor vehicle involved in the accident, drug testing is required.

The alcohol test must be administered within two hours of the accident. If this is not possible, the employer must continue to try to have the driver tested up to eight hours after the accident and prepare a record that states why the test was not administered.

A drug test should be completed within 32 hours of the accident. If the drug test is not completed within this timeframe, the employer should not try to complete the drug test and should prepare a record that states why the test was not administered.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Because of the ongoing issues with drug and alcohol impaired drivers, the Commercial Drivers’ License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is being established. This new entity will require employers to check with it before hiring any potential applicant as a commercial truck driver. This will help assemble information about drivers with a history of positive test results for drugs and alcohol so that drivers will not be able to simply switch employers or move to another state after a positive test result and continue operating a commercial vehicle.

Reach Out to a Lawyer for Help with Your Claim

After a truck accident, you can plan on the trucking company and insurance company quickly descending on the scene. Some employers and insurance companies have even been found to encourage truck drivers to delay testing or use a loophole to avoid drug or alcohol testing after an accident. It is important that you are able to level the playing field by hiring an experienced truck accident attorney from Rizk Law who is familiar with commercial trucking regulations and the tricks companies use.

Our dedicated truck accident attorneys can review your claim during a free case evaluation and attempt to negotiate for a fair settlement with the insurance company. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.