A Checklist for Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing

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From Fleetmentor April 25, 2017

This Week’s Topic
A Checklist for Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing

Anytime a motor carrier deals with a crash involving its own driver and vehicle, a series of events is set in motion to ensure that the proper facts are documented. Often there is a certain amount of confusion when assembling these facts, which can cause the motor carrier undue grief in its recording process.

One area of confusion is the post-accident drug and alcohol testing. This is a separate requirement from the accident recording process, and it applies only to drivers operating vehicles that require a CDL to operate. There is a simple step-by-step process carriers can follow to determine whether to send a driver for a post-accident test:

  • Was the driver operating a vehicle that required a CDL to operate?
  • Does the accident meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) definition of an accident? (See Section 390.5T for this definition.)

If the answer to either of these two questions is no, then testing for drugs and alcohol is not required. If the answer to both is yes, then the next question is “Was there a fatality?” If that answer is yes, then testing is required.

If there was no fatality but the accident involved injury or towing, the next question is, “Was the driver cited for a moving violation as a result of the accident?” If that answer is yes, then testing is required. If the answer is no, then no testing is required.

If a drug and alcohol test is required, the testing must be conducted within the time limits prescribed by the FMCSA. Starting from the time of the accident, the alcohol test must be done within 2 hours. Knowing that this can be unrealistic depending on circumstances, the FMCSA has allowed for a 6-hour extension providing the motor carrier documents why the testing could not have taken place within the 2-hour window.

The drug test must be done within 32 hours of the accident, without any extension! The only exceptions are if the driver was seriously injured or if a citation was issued several days after the accident.

Keep in mind, once the windows have closed — 8 hours for the alcohol test, and 32 hours for the drug test — the driver is no longer subject to testing. Section 382.303 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is your regulation reference for post-accident testing.

Contact DOT Compliance Services, LLC today. 

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