Drug and alcohol usage can lead to severe commercial truck accidents. To address this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require drug and alcohol testing. When obtaining a commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol testing is mandatory under the provisions of the FMCSR.
Employers must adhere to the procedure outlined in the FMCSR regarding drug and alcohol testing. Notice to the drivers regarding the testing is also mandatory.
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Drivers cannot operate commercial motor vehicles when they have an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater. If an employer knows that the driver has reached or exceeded this limit, the burden is placed on the employer to prohibit the driver from operating the vehicle.
Alcohol usage during duty is also prohibited, especially when the employee is performing safety-sensitive functions. If the employee drinks outside of work hours, the employee must not operate safety-sensitive functions within 4 hours of consuming alcohol.
A driver cannot refuse to be the subject of alcohol testing. If the driver refuses, the employer is given the power to prohibit the driver from operating the vehicle.
The same rules generally apply to the use of controlled substances. In both cases, the burden of ensuring the public’s safety is placed on the employer. If the employer knowingly allows a truck driver to operate a vehicle even after they have tested positive or have refused to take the test, then the employer can be held liable.
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The following tests may be administered by an employer to check for drug or alcohol use by truck drivers: