How Often Are Trucking Companies Supposed to Perform Drug and Alcohol Tests?

Trucking is a demanding profession that requires employees to adhere to high standards of performance and personal conduct. While there’s no way to guarantee the safety of our roadways, randomized programs of drug and alcohol testing can help. Learn more about how often trucking companies should perform drug and alcohol screens.

Common Safety Concerns

Although most road accidents are caused by non-commercial drivers, crashes that involve trucks tend to be far more serious. Every year, thousands of passenger car owners die in truck-related accidents. Since they have an inherent size advantage, truck drivers tend to fare much better.

No driver can absolutely guarantee the safety of others on the road, but truckers who use drugs and alcohol create the following safety problems:

•    Lane drifting and erratic driving
•    Aggressive merging and passing
•    Excessive speed
•    Crashes at intersections
•    Chain-reaction crashes on high-speed roads
•    Failure to heed adverse weather conditions like fog, ice and snow

Types of Drug Screens

While severely impaired drivers present a clear and present risk, even occasional drug and alcohol use poses problems. Some tests can detect prior intoxication over long periods of time. These include:

•    Urine tests that can detect the presence of some drugs, including marijuana, for up to six weeks
•    Hair tests that can detect consumption over the course of an entire year
•    Blood tests that offer intermediate levels of detection
•    Breath tests that can detect recent alcohol consumption

How Often to Test?

Trucking company managers should test their employees for drugs and alcohol at least twice per year. While federal law stipulates that truckers must receive random screens, testing frequency is left to the discretion of business owners. Truckers who aren’t tested every few months may take more risks and create more liability for their supervisors.

Ensuring Fair, Random Testing

To ensure that tests occur frequently and fairly, many trucking companies use computer programs that “randomize” their testing pools and make it harder for employees to cheat on screens. Over the past 20 years, this has resulted in a 90% drop in positive drug screens. However, more work needs to be done.

Regular, random drug and alcohol testing is a fundamental component of any safe workplace. In the dangerous, high-pressure trucking industry, this is especially true. While it’s relatively easy to set up an equitable drug testing program that improves safety and reduces liability, many trucking company owners cut corners and refuse to do the legwork. If you or a loved one suffered injury or property damage after encountering an intoxicated driver, speak with a trusted NY attorney at the Brown Chiari law firm, or call (716) 681-7190 to learn more about your options.