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Post-Accident Testing For DOT - FMCSA

07 Apr 2016

FMCSA Post-Accident Drug Testing is often confusing.  When is the DOT FMCSA Post Accident Test required? The company's DER's and Supervisors must pay close attention to the details of an accident report in order to determine if specific criteria is met for the DOT post accident testing to be required.  If a specific criteria for the DOT post accident testing in not met then company policy might require a non DOT post accident test for drugs and alcohol.  The DOT test should not be performed if the specific criteria is not met.  FMCSA section 382.303 outlines the criteria.    

The FMCSA requires the employer to test as soon as practicable following an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on a public road in commerce the driver:

  1. Who was performing safety sensitive functions if the accident involved the loss of human life (fatality); or
  2. Who receives a citation within 32 hours of the accident under State or local law for a moving violation arising from an accident, if the accident involved either: 
  • injury of any person requiring medical treatment away from the accident scene, or 
  • a vehicle has to be towed from the accident scene 

IMPORTANT: FMCSA/DOT DOES NOT authorize or allow a post-accident test to be conducted under their authority for any other reason. Any other testing an employer would conduct would have to fall under their company/corporation policy apart from the DOT accident.

The following table notes when a FMCSA DOT post-accident test is required:

Type of accident involved?Citation issued to the CMV driverTest must be performed by employer
Human fatality

YES YES
NO YES
Bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene

YES YES
NO NO
Disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away

YES YES
NO NO

This table has been reproduced from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 382 rules for Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing.

Post-Accident testing may be required under Company Policy even when FMCSA regulations do not require such testing. This would be non-DOT testing.

When an Accident Occurs:

  • Determine if above criteria has been met and perform DOT testing if yes, if not; the company can perform non-DOT testing based on Company Policy.
  • An employee will submit a specimen for a drug test as soon as possible from the time of the reportable accident but no later than 32 hours after the time of the accident as defined in the table below. Alcohol testing must be conducted within eight (8) hours of an accident. The employee is prohibited from consuming alcohol for eight (8) hours following an accident.
  • If the employee is injured, the COMPANY retains the right to contact any treating medical facility and request that a controlled substance and alcohol test be obtained, or to obtain from the employees medical records, the result of any such test obtained during the course of treatment. The refusal of any employee to allow the collection of these specimens or to attempt to block the release of said specimen will result in the immediate medical disqualification of the employee.
  • An employee who fails to report an accident to the Company and who fails to comply with the post-accident requirements of this policy will be presumed to be positive for the presence of a controlled substance resulting in the medical disqualification for employment with this Company.

Drivers must remain readily available for testing until it is concluded whether testing will be required. This shall not be construed to require the delay of necessary medical attention for injured people following an accident or to prohibit a driver from leaving the scene of an accident to obtain assistance in responding to the accident or to obtain emergency medical care.