The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts drug tests regularly for commercial vehicle drivers including truck drivers as well. As per the department of transportation (DOT), truck drivers perform safety-sensitive service and so it is necessary to ensure that they remain clean and healthy during their service. But, the real question is, how often do truck drivers get drug tested? In this article, we are going to find that out.
Do Truck Drivers Get Drug Tested?
Yes, truck drivers get drug tested multiple times during their employment. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has mandatory drug tests for all the employees working in the safety-sensitive department. As a truck driver, your service is also considered safety-sensitive and so you are required to appear for the drug test.
The prime purpose of conducting drug tests for employees in safety-sensitive services is to keep the roads safe for everyone and prevent any major or minor road accidents from happening. As per the US government, other than truck drivers, an individual has to undergo a pre-employment drug test before getting hired for any job in the transportation department.
How Often Do Truck Drivers Get Drug Tested?
A person who has a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and the one who operates vehicles that take along more than 16 people and carry heavy transport materials has to undergo a drug test many times in the entire course of his employment. As a truck driver, the first and foremost drug test that you have to appear for is a pre-employment drug test. It is undertaken during your hiring process.
Next, if there are any changes or cases of suspension against you in any manner, you will again be asked to undertake a drug test as per the DOT guidelines. As an employee in the transportation department, you can not neglect to appear for the drug test. Mostly this drug test is done when your supervisors suspect that you have been on drugs or alcohol in the past days or weeks.
Other than that, a truck driver is asked to give a negative drug test report if he was found involved in a vehicle accident. It is mandatory to have an alcohol test done within 8 hours of an accident and the drug test has to appear in the next 32 hours after the accident. If the accident includes any damage or harm caused to a person, the driver has to test for drugs even if he was not cited. This way, the driver will get the insurance easily.
Lastly, as a truck driver, you have to perform drug tests after every three months. These drug tests are known as random drug tests and no employee can deny this test. As the name indicates, a random drug test is done randomly on employees. This way, each employee has an equal chance to get selected to undergo the drug test.
What do the Drug Tests Detect?
No doubt there are many ways to get a drug test done. However, a DOT drug test is only conducted by taking urine as a sample to trace for drugs in the body of an individual. To test for consumption of alcohol by a person, DOT conducts a breathalyzer test as well. The samples undergo proper analysis to get the results.
The breathalyzer tests for alcohol concentration levels of 0.004 or above. Moreover, the DOT drug test is a five-panel drug test that checks for the presence of the following drugs-
- Marijuana or THC
- Amphetamines or methamphetamine, MDMA
- Opiates or codeine, heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone
- Phencyclidine or PCP
The traces of drugs and alcohol can be found in your system for the past 30 days. Therefore, it is always advised that you do not lie to your employer regarding it. Even if you have intaken drugs or alcohol in the past few weeks, you can honestly admit it to your employer or you can show that you are under a rehabilitation program.
What Should Truck Drivers do to Prepare for the Drug Test?
Usually, DOT conducts a urine-based drug test. To prepare for the drug test, a truck driver should first provide the list of medications his doctor has prescribed him to take because at times, certain medicines can result in giving a fake positive drug test report and this might end up causing unnecessary trouble to the truck driver.
However, if you have been on drugs in the last few days, the best thing is to accept that from your employers. If not, the other way is to detoxify your body. It can either be done naturally by consuming excessive amounts of water or you can always rely on some amazing detoxifying drinks that are available in the market conveniently. Please refer to this guide on how a truck driver should prepare for a hair test.
What Happens if a Truck Driver Fails a Drug Test?
As a truck driver if you fail a drug test you might get suspended by the time you do not provide a clean and negative drug test report to your employer. Also, your license and certification might get canceled until the time you are not found guilty anymore. Meanwhile, you could be asked to work with a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for guidance.
However, if your drug test report is legit and you have intaken illicit drugs as an employee under DOT, you will be directly fired from your job. Since DOT considers you a safety-sensitive employee, such behavior from your side will be considered intolerable and so you will end up losing your job once and for all.
As per the guidelines laid down by the department of transportation US, every employee of the transport department has to undergo a drug test after a certain period. Drug tests are also conducted before employment to ensure that the person who is going to get a job is fit and healthy. However, a pre-employment drug test requires consent from the person whereas a truck driver may have to appear for a drug test whenever asked on a random basis as well.
Michael S. Bardwell is a healthcare professional with a passion for advancing patient care and improving healthcare systems. With expertise in patient-centered care and a track record of implementing innovative solutions, he is a respected voice in the medical community. As a regular contributor to TAFMED.org, Bardwell shares his insights on healthcare topics and is committed to making a positive impact. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with family and giving back to the community through philanthropy.