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Truck drivers are in charge of operating massive tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers which can cause a devastating impact when they are involved in an accident. Therefore, these drivers are held to a high standard regarding drug and alcohol use.

Generally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that trucking companies subject all their drivers to drug and alcohol testing at various points of their employment. For example, drivers are subject to post-accident drug testing and alcohol testing following many accidents. Keep in mind that motor carrier companies must keep these records for five years.

When must a truck driver undergo DOT drug testing and alcohol testing?

According to FMCSA regulations, an employer must conduct alcohol and drug tests on employees before hiring a truck driver. The driver must test negative to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Employers must also conduct random alcohol and drug tests throughout the driver’s service. If the driver reports to work and appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the employer must subject him to a drug and alcohol test. Employers are also required to train driver supervisors to identify signs of intoxication.

DOT drug testing and alcohol testing is also required in these instances. 

  • If a driver returns to duty after testing positive
  • If a driver refuses the test
  • If a driver violates the rules

The driver may then be subject to six tests over 12 months, but this time period can be extended to as much as four years.

Post-Accident Drug Testing and Alcohol Testing

Trucking companies are also required to conduct post-accident drug testing and alcohol testing. However, not every accident warrants an alcohol or drug test.

Broadly, an employer is required to subject a driver to a drug and alcohol test when he is involved in certain accident situations like those listed below. 

  • An accident in which there was a fatality, whether or not the driver received a citation.
  • An accident in which there was physical injury to a person, and the driver received a citation
  • An accident that resulted in physical damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away services, and the driver received a citation.

DOT drug testing and alcohol testing is not required if the accident caused bodily injury requiring immediate medical treatment away from the scene but the driver did not receive a citation. Similarly, an alcohol and drug test is not required if the accident caused damage to a vehicle, requiring a tow, but the driver didn’t get a citation.

Why Post-Accident Drug Testing and Alcohol Testing is Important

Alcohol and drug use can have an impairing effect on a truck driver’s abilities. This is why drivers have a much lower permissible limit for alcohol in their blood. While general motorists in Dallas have a legally permissible BAC limit of .08, the limit is lowered to .04 in the case of commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Alcohol and drug use can severely impair a truck driver’s ability to control his vehicle or make emergency maneuvers like braking to avoid an accident. Drug and alcohol use can shed inhibitions, increase aggressiveness, and enhance the likelihood of dangerous driving practices.

Can I claim compensation for an accident caused by a drunk truck driver?

After many accidents, a truck driver is subjected to post-accident drug testing and alcohol testing to determine the role of alcohol in causing the accident. If these tests are positive then accident victims can prove that the accident was caused by truck driver negligence, i.e., the trucker’s impairment. Your truck accident lawyer will also conduct independent investigations to point out truck driver negligence as a factor in your accident to bolster your claim.

Your claim can recover compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.

If you were involved in a trucking accident in the Dallas area, speak to trucking accident lawyer Julie Johnson. Call 214-290-8001 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.