DOT post-accident drug test requirements


As a DOT-regulated motor carrier, it is extremely important to ensure all CDL drivers are in top physical and mental condition while operating these highly complex and powerful commercial motor vehicles. Driver awareness of post-accident drug test requirements is also crucial.

Although we do everything possible to prevent accidents, there are times when circumstances are beyond our control, making the post-accident steps one of the most important pieces of knowledge for a CDL driver. A driver’s responsibilities do not stop at the site of the accident.

What are the different types of DOT drug tests?

There are several situations in which a DOT drug test is required, including:

  1. pre-employment – before starting work as a CDL driver
  2. post-accident – applies to certain situations following an accident
  3. random – random testing program require by law for all DOT-regulated motor carriers
  4. reasonable suspicion – if a driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5. return-to-duty – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law
  6. follow-up – required of drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the law

When is a post-accident drug and alcohol test required?

Drug and alcohol tests are not required after every accident. A CDL driver is required to take a post-accident drug test if:

  • the accident results in one or more fatalities
  • injury was incurred that required medical treatment away from the scene and the driver received a citation (Note: no citation = no drug and alcohol test)
  • any vehicle is towed, and the driver received a citation (Note: no citation = no drug and alcohol test)

Also, it is important to note that a driver is still liable to take a drug and alcohol test if a citation issued within 32 hours of the accident. If a citation is issued after the 8 hour mark, the motor carrier must make a note saying “a citation was not issued until this time, which was after the 8 hours for alcohol testing.”

How much time do I have to get a post-accident drug test?

A driver has 2 hours in which an alcohol test should be completed, however it must be completed within 8 hours. If the driver goes over the 2-hour mark, they must provide an explanation as to why there was a delay and the motor carrier must provide a written explanation and keep in their company files.

A drug test needs to be completed as soon as possible; however, it must be completed within 32 hours. At times there might be a delay in the issuance of a citation, however as long as the citation is issued with 32 hours, a drug and alcohol test is required.

Drivers often run into issues with meeting these timeframes because they will be kept at the scene of an accident for several hours or an investigation must be completed to determine if the driver was at fault.

What if I miss the maximum time frame allowed?

If a driver does not get his post-accident drug test before the maximum allowed time, the company needs to make a note in their files as to the reason why, however it is too late and the company will be out of compliance and face fines and audit penalties, so completing the drug test within the allowed time is imperative.

What about on-site tests, such as a DUI test or breathalyzer?

If an officer conducts a DUI test or a breathalyzer at the scene of an accident, a driver is still required to follow protocol and get an official drug and alcohol test within the allotted time frames. An on-site test by an officer will not fulfill the required DOT post-accident drug test as these tests do not follow DOT rules and regulations.


Drug and alcohol testing

Where does a driver get a DOT drug test?

Compliance Navigation Specialists works with Quest Diagnostics and have over 10,000 locations available for testing, whether it is necessary after an accident or for a pre-employment screening.

For post-accident alcohol testing, CNS will coordinate a location for you.

We also offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) for companies that are regulated by Federal and State government.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Operation Safe Driver Week

During the week of Oct. 18-24, 2015, law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving behaviors by both commercial motor vehicle drivers and car drivers as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week.

According to CVSA,12,502 people were killed and more than 287,000 were injured in crashes involving at least one large truck or bus between 2011-2013 in the United States. More than 70 percent of the deaths and injuries from these crashes were from multi-vehicle crashes with cars. Many of those accidents are the direct result of the drivers – both commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and car drivers. CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and cars.

During Operation Safe Driver Week, activities will be held across the United States, Canada and Mexico with the goal of increasing commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement, safety belt enforcement, driver roadside inspections and driver regulatory compliance.

In addition to enforcement, education is an important component of Operation Safe Driver Week. Law enforcement and transportation safety officials will offer educational and awareness safety programs to the motor carrier population and the motoring public.

Last year, during the week-long campaign, law enforcement officers pulled over 59,080 commercial vehicle drivers and car drivers for unsafe driving behaviors. Data was collected by 4,337 law enforcement officials at 1,549 locations across the United States and Canada. There also were outreach events throughout the week at high schools, state capitals, state fairs, truck rodeos, sporting events and other locations.

The top five warnings and citations issued to CMV drivers were:

  1. speeding
  2. failure to use a safety belt
  3. failure to obey traffic control devices
  4. improper lane change
  5. following too closely

The top five warnings and citations issued to passenger car drivers were:

  1. speeding
  2. failure to use a safety belt
  3. failure to obey a traffic control device
  4. possession/use/under the influence of alcohol
  5. improper lane change

Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations, and aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either by or around commercial vehicles – and to initiate educational and enforcement strategies to address those exhibiting high-risk behaviors.

To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week educational and awareness events going on in your state, contact a representative from CNS at 1-888-260-9448.