TOM: Welcome to the national drug screening video blog series. My name is Tom Fulmer I am the VP of business development. You can find out more information on our website by visiting our blog at www.nationaldrugscreening.com. It is where we help employers and individuals better understand drug testing, drug testing policies, trends and how to have a drug-free workplace.
Today’s guest is Mr. Joe Reilly. He is the president of national drug screening. He’s also a former chair of DATIA (Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association merged with NDASA in 2023) and a current board member. Mr. Reilly has been consulting in the industry since 1993.
Today’s topic is post-accident testing specifically for DOT FMCSA regulated companies. Those are the trucking and busing companies. So, Joe under what circumstances is post-accident testing going to be required for those regulated by FMCSA?
JOE: Well, that is a good question Tom. As you know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates trucking companies and bus companies. There are certain times when there is an accident that a post-accident DOT drug test is required. But, it is only required as a DOT test when the accident meet certain criteria and that criteria is really important to know.
So, that criteria is as follows. If there is a human fatality in the accident there is always a DOT drug and alcohol test. That is the first criteria, human fatality.
The second criteria is twofold. One, the driver gets a ticket or a citation and there is disabling damage to a vehicle requiring the vehicle to be told away. So, if that criteria is met a DOT drug and alcohol test is also required.
The third and final criteria is again the driver gets a ticket or citation. And, there’s injury to a person in the accident that requires that person to be taken away for medical attention. So, those are the three criteria that cause a requirement for the DOT drug and alcohol test after an accident by a truck or bus that is regulated by the Federal motor carrier safety administration.
If the post-accident criteria is met with testing should be done within certain time frames which I will talk about. Sometimes it may be the criteria is not met until after the accident. It may be that the citation or the ticket was not issued for 4-6 hours. So, at the point that the criteria is met. The alcohol testing needs to be done no later than eight hours. The DOT wants it done within two hours. But, for the alcohol test it is no later than eight hours.
IT is the same thing with the drug test. They want it done within two hours. But, for the drug test it should be done no later than 32 hours. So, for the alcohol test if the eight hours pass and for the drug if the 32 hours pass there should not be any attempt further to do the DOT drug and alcohol test.
TOM: So, if the driver passes the breath alcohol test which is done right on site then they have to do the drug screen if required to do that. Yet, those results are not going to be available for a few days. So, what actions would the employer take with the driver or would there be any during that wait time?
JOE: Okay, we have the accident and meets the DOT criteria for that accident. The test is done. The blood alcohol test is negative in the drug test as you mentioned is going to take a few days to get those results back. This is really going to depend on company policy as to whether or not to continue and allow that driver to operate. The DOT does not dictate whether or not they have to be taken out of service. If the drug test does come out positive then the driver does need to be removed from that safety sensitive position.
TOM: That is if the positive drug test happens. But, what if the person does test positive for a breath alcohol test on-site. Does it matter about the level and how is at handle?
JOE: Yes, a positive alcohol test is very serious. Now, we should still also do the drug test, of course. When the person that is conducting the test who would be called a breath alcohol at technician. When the gets the result showing a 0.02 or above to a 0.04 then that requires immediate removal of the driver from the safety sensitive position for a minimum of 24 hours. If the results show a 0.04 or above then that also requires immediate removal of the driver and that driver has violated DOT policy. They will not be able to drive again until they have completed a process known as the substance abuse professional process.
TOM: What happens in a situation where the accident meets the criteria for post-accident testing under DOT or FMCSA and they cannot get the test done at all or they cannot give someone there within the time frames specified.
JOE: Okay. Once there is an accident there should be attempts to get the drug test and the alcohol test completed. Now, that may require bringing someone to an emergency room, bringing someone to an urgent care facility for calling out a mobile collective. But, if all attempts fail at getting that tests done there are couple of last options. One is that a supervisor of the company could do the testing. The other is that if the law enforcement had done the testing the results of that test could be potentially used for that DOT post-accident test.
TOM: Excellent. Well, today’s video blog series have been on post-accident testing for FMCSA and DOT regulated companies. I just want a thing Joe for coming in and giving us great insight on that. For more information make sure you visit our blog at www.nationaldrugscreening.com. There is a wealth of information there. There’s a great search feature that you can find out more about post-accident testing for DOT regulated companies as well as non-DOT related companies. We invite you to join us back for the next video blog series coming up soon.