October 28, 2019

Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby

How often do truck drivers get drug tested?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) regulates trucking companies and truck drivers. This includes regulations concerning how often truck drivers are drug tested.

Our Atlanta, GA trucking truck accident lawyers review the basic rules concerning drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers.

Initial Employment Drug Test

First, a truck driver must take a drug test at the time of his initial employment.

As § 382.301 states, “(a) Prior to the first time a driver performs safety-sensitive functions for an employer, the driver shall undergo testing for controlled substances as a condition prior to being used, unless the employer uses the exception in paragraph (b) of this section.” The exception to pre-employment screening is if the driver was (a) participating in a controlled substances testing program within the prior 30 days; (b) was either tested in the prior 6 months or subject to random testing for the prior 12 months; and (c) the employer ensures that no prior employer has notice of a failed test in the last six months.

Drug Testing After an Accident

Second, after certain types of accidents, the truck driver must receive a drug and alcohol test. A truck driver does not have to receive a screening just because he was involved in an accident. Instead, the accident must meet certain requirements.

This chart is helpful for determining when a drug and alcohol test will be required:

Type of Accident InvolvedCitation Issued to the CMV DriverTest Must Be Performed by Employer
Human FatalityYesYes
Human FatalityNoYes
Bodily Injury With Immediate Medical Treatment Away From the SceneYesYes
Bodily Injury With Immediate Medical Treatment Away From the SceneNoNo
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow AwayYesYes
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow AwayNoNo

These standards come from rule § 382.303. The rule requires a drug/alcohol test (a) if the is a human fatality, (b) if the driver receives a citation and a person is taken from the scene for emergency medical treatment, or (c) if the driver receives a citation and a vehicle has disabling damage requiring a tow truck.

Random Drug Testing for Truck Drivers

Third, the Federal Motor Carrier  Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require truck drivers to submit to random alcohol and drug tests.

The percentage of truck drivers that a company must test is subject to change each year. In the original code section, § 382.305, was 10% of drivers tested for alcohol in a year and 25% for drug tests within a year.

The drugs that are tested in these screenings include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine – PCP

The minimum amounts permitted in a driver’s system are available on the FMCSA website.

There are other less common scenarios when a truck driver may be required to submit to a drug or alcohol test. These includes reasonable suspicion, and after a truck driver has failed or refused a test and submitted to a program.

Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney for Help

A knowledgeable Georgia truck accident lawyer from our firm can help you navigate all aspects of your case, including these. Send us an online message or call (404) 442-9000 today to schedule a free consultation.