When Do Truckers Have to Undergo a DOT Drug Screen?

It’s estimated there are roughly 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States. With so many people working as CDL Drivers, it’s no wonder employers want to take this important role as seriously as possible.  One of the main ways this is done is through DOT drug testing. The tests check to make sure alcohol levels are below 0.02% and that drugs like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, or amphetamines aren’t in a Driver’s system. 

So when can a Truck Driver expect to take a test? How does a DOT drug screen work? Here’s a quick overview of everything you need to know. 

DOT Drug Screen Before Employment

Like many other types of jobs, a driver must take a drug and alcohol test as part of the hiring process before operating a commercial motor vehicle. 

A CDL Driver must take a drug test before officially starting the job. This is part of the screening phase and is an important indicator as to whether a potential Driver will be responsible and reliable. 

Random Testing Throughout the Year

After a Driver begins working, they will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing throughout their time working for a company. According to DOT drug testing requirements, random testing is done throughout the year, but some companies choose to do more frequent testing to be extra sure their Drivers are being safe. 

A random selection pool decides when CDL Drivers take a drug test. Once selected, a Driver has to take the test as soon as possible. 

After an Accident

If a Driver is involved in an accident while on the job, it’s possible they’ll need to submit to a DOT drug screening depending on the accident’s circumstances. 

For example, accidents that result in a death or that require medical attention away from where the accident happened would require drug testing. A Driver would need to take an alcohol test within 8 hours after the accident or a drug test within 32 hours. 

Testing Due to Reasonable Suspicion

Sometimes a Driver may be asked to submit to drug screening because their employer is concerned they might be using or abusing drugs or alcohol that affect their work.

This doesn’t mean anyone can make a Driver take a drug test. In most cases, there’s an employee for the company who’s trained to spot the symptoms that might be a cause for concern. 

Return-to-Duty Testing

If a Driver fails a drug or alcohol test, there’s a process they must go through to start driving again. 

This process involves talking with a Substance Abuse Professional and finishing a required program. They also have to successfully pass another drug test before getting back on the road.

Once a Driver completes the program and passes the drug or alcohol test, they’ll also need to take at least six follow-up tests over the following year. 

Drive Carefully and Confidently 

The main purpose of a DOT drug screen is to make certain the roads are safe for everyone using them, including CDL Drivers. 

At Kopf Logistics Group, we care about the safety of our Drivers and everyone who shares the road.  Interested in CDL jobs? Contact us today to get your questions answered.