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Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis
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Trucking Regulations – Part III – Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing

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Obviously, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act prevents drivers from driving 18 wheel rigs while under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol. Section 382 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations governs the requirements trucking companies must follow with regard to testing for controlled substances and alcohol abuse. The Department of Transportation has specific rules regarding the testing processes.

Trucking companies must test at various times during a driver’s employment. The various tests include: pre-employment testing, post-accident testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing. These tests insure that drivers meet the qualifications for performing safety-sensitive duties without being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

In addition, drivers have certain requirements for when alcohol use is permitted. For instance, drivers may not perform safety-sensitve functions within four hours of the use of alcohol. Drivers may also not use alcohol within eight hours after an accident or after a post accident alcohol and controlled substance test, whichever occurs first. These rules attempt to make sure that drivers are not engaging in safety-sensitive measures while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

Unfortunately, not all trucking companies abide by these rules. Consequently, there are rules regarding the retention of testing records. Records reflecting a positive test for a driver with an alcohol concentration greater than .02 must be kept for five years. Records reflecting any negative test must be kept for one year.

These rules assist us as attorneys in helping those whose loved one has beenkilled or those who have themselves been injured by a tractor trailer. We ask for this information in discovery, and if the trucking company cannot produce the proper documents, it helps us in pushing the case to a successful conclusion.