Did you know…“Every two hours, three people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes.”1 That’s over 13,000 fatalities annually not to mention over 4 million Americans who drive under the influence each year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been cracking down on drivers operating while under the influence and promoting safety in their annual drug and alcohol sweep which took place from April 30th through May 11th.
During this sweep, which analyzed the safety records of commercial bus and truck drivers, authorities removed 287 drivers from the road with an additional 128 companies facing action.2
Investigators found that several of the drivers tried to dodge drug and alcohol testing as well as notifying of past reports by switching employers.3 Several companies were cited for using drivers who had tested positive as well as never applied a test procedure policy to their company.2
Road Scholar Transport implements a drug and alcohol testing program. Not only do we drug test every new hire, but 50% of drivers of every year, as well as IF there is an accident where a vehicle is either towed or resulted in an injury. In fact, Road Scholar maintains NO controlled substances and alcohol violations in our CSA score.
Drivers and carriers caught in the FMCSA’s sweep are looking at a fine as well as being banned from operating a truck. As the FMCSA’s Anne Ferro explains, “”Removing these dangerous drivers from the roads helps save lives and sends a strong signal that we will not tolerate negligent commercial drivers and companies that violate federal alcohol and drug safety standards.” 2
The FMCSA guidelines of drug & alcohol include (provided by http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/drug/engtesting.htm):
-Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for CDL drivers.
-Post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, and return to duty/follow up alcohol testing.
-Pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, random, and return to duty/follow up drug testing.
-Responsibility rests upon the employer to conduct random and spontaneous drug tests on at least 50% of their drivers annually.
To view the FMCSA’s complete alcohol and drug rules click here.
As an advocate of driver safety on the road, we are providing you with ten ways that carriers fail to comply with drug and alcohol mandates so you know what steps to avoid citations. (The following information is provided by Work Truck Magazine)
1. Failing to Implement a Program
2. Failure to decide to test the appropriate people
3. Failure to “establish or maintain a random selection process.”
4. Failing to test a driver prior to employment or allowing a driver to operate the truck before receiving test results
5. Ignoring past occurrences in which the driver tested positive.
6. Failing to test within the 8 hour deadline after an alcohol related accident and 32-hours after a drug-related.
7. Failing to retain records
8. “Many carriers – and medical examiners – automatically request a DOT drug screen when a driver renews his or her medical certification. “Other,” “annual,” or “recertification” is not a required DOT test type. Testing under this circumstance is actually a violation of §382.113 (misrepresentation) and could result in potential liability, especially if the results are positive.”
9. Giving drivers advanced notice of a test. Instead, they should be take immediately to the testing site.
10. “Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a personal vehicle affects the CDL based on §383.51, but has no bearing on a driver’s participation in a DOT drug and alcohol testing program. A driver cannot be forced to undergo an SAP program since it is not mandated by the FMCSA. However, a conviction resulting from operating a CDL vehicle is “actual knowledge” and is a violation under Part 382.”
What are you doing to adhere to the FMCSA’s guidelines on drug and alcohol testing? Are the guidelines strict enough or should they be altered? List your comments below.