Drug Test Procedure Following a Truck Accident
A driver operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) may be required under federal law to undergo a drug and alcohol test following a truck accident if certain criteria are met.
For starters, any time there is a loss of human life, the commercial driver must be tested even when there is no evidence the truck driver did anything wrong or otherwise contributed to the wreck.
Drug Testing Requirements After a Commercial Truck Accident
If there is no fatality involved, then a commercial driver is only required to be tested under federal law when certain criteria are met:
- The driver must receive a citation and there is bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident
- One of the vehicles involved in the wreck had to be towed from the scene
If these criteria are not met, there is no obligation under federal law for the commercial driver’s employer to drug and alcohol test the driver.
The table below summarizes this regulation:
When a drug and alcohol test is required, the employer must act promptly.
An alcohol test should be administered within two hours following the accident but no later than eight hours. The drug test is required to be administered within 32 hours of the wreck. If the driver is not tested within these timeframes, the employer is required to prepare a record stating the reasons the test was not promptly administered.
Truck Accident Drug Test Results
In the event a commercial driver tests positive, the employer will almost certainly fire him. However, that employer’s duty to maintain the positive test continues even after the driver has left his employment.
Federal law requires that a positive drug test, or a test indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater, be kept by the employer for a minimum of five years. If the test is negative, then the employer may discard the record after one year.
Truck Company Drug Testing
In those circumstances when federal law does not require a test, that does not mean the driver is in the clear.
The reason being is that some employers have a blanket policy that whenever a driver is involved in an accident, no matter how minor or even when it is clear the commercial driver is not at fault, the driver is tested. The driver may also have to undergo a drug or alcohol test if law enforcement finds probable cause that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Oftentimes, in those circumstances, the driver will be placed under arrest and taken into custody. In that event, the driver will be tested under state law.