Are Commercial Truck Drivers Required to do a Drug Test After a Crash?
Impaired driving is extremely dangerous, and others often pay the price for one driver’s decision to get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the impaired driver is behind the wheel of a commercial truck, the danger increases significantly. These vehicles are so much larger and harder to control than traditional passenger vehicles, and commercial truck crashes are often very serious.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented drug testing requirements to try to prevent impaired driving and to find out if a driver involved in a crash was under the influence. Below, learn more about drug testing requirements after a crash. You may be surprised to learn when drug testing is not required, including exceptions for certain situations.
If you were injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Our Bloomington truck accident lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss the situation. Our firm has recovered tens of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients, including $1.7 million for a man who was run over by a semi-truck.
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Federal Regulations on Drug Testing After a Crash
The FMCSA requires drug testing at various times during a commercial truck driver’s employment, including after accidents that meet certain criteria. Testing is required after accidents that cause:
- A fatality, whether a citation was issued to the truck driver or not
- Bodily injury that requires immediate medical treatment away from the scene, provided a citation was issued to the driver
- Disabling damage to a vehicle that requires the vehicle to be towed, provided a citation is issued to the truck driver
That means drug testing is not required after accidents that cause bodily injury when police fail to issue a citation.
Employers are required to test drivers for drugs or alcohol as soon as is practical after the crash. That said, if more than eight hours pass without an alcohol test, employers must stop attempting to do a test. If more than 32 hours pass without a controlled substances test, employers must stop trying to do a test.
Employers who do not perform tests within those time limits must document the reasons tests were not administered.
Exceptions for Truckers Hauling COVID-19 Medical Supplies
In July, the FMCSA announced it was extending the waiver of some random drug and alcohol testing requirements for truckers transporting medical supplies and equipment for testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. The exception also applies to truckers hauling equipment to help communities protect themselves, like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and soap.
The exception extends until the end of 2020 but may go into 2021. The FMCSA said it would be more flexible with employers who were not able to comply with random substance abuse testing requirements, such as failing to space out test dates throughout the year.
What to do if You Suspect a Truck Driver is Drunk or Impaired?
If you are involved in a truck crash and you suspect the driver is drunk, make sure to tell the police officer who comes to the scene. Tell him or her the reasons why you suspect alcohol or drugs may have been involved in the crash.
For example, one sign of an impaired driver may be an open trailer door, as drunk truck drivers may overlook simple safety precautions. If you smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, or he or she appears to be stumbling around, tell the police. You may have also noticed erratic driving before the crash, such as speeding, struggling to stay in a lane or tailgating you or another vehicle.
By informing the police about your suspicions, you help to ensure they will at least consider the possibility of the driver being drunk. They may be more likely to conduct a field sobriety test or ask the driver to blow into a breathalyzer, increasing the chances of a citation being issued. If a citation is issued, the driver may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol test by his or her employer.
Talking to an attorney is also important after a truck crash. Trucking companies, their insurance companies and other at-fault parties will work hard to escape liability for the crash. You need an attorney who will be focused on your best interests to help level the playing field.
Call Today to Discuss Your Truck Crash
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