California Drug Testing Laws and Truck Driver Accidents

Most commercial truck drivers work long hours, generally 10-12 hours a day. They earn relatively low pay, become bored and lonely after long hours on the road, and suffer physical and psychological exhaustion. To combat boredom, loneliness, and fatigue, many drivers use over-the-counter medications, alcohol, and drugs to prevent burnout and keep them awake. The use of over-the-counter medicines, drugs, complicated with extreme driver fatigue, adversely affects their motor skills, reaction times, and their ability to drive on the road safely. If injured by a commercial truck driver, contact a Los Angeles truck accident attorney.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The FMCSA is an agency of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that regulates commercial motor vehicle drivers. The agency’s mission is to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities with large trucks and busses. They require CDL (Commercial Drivers License) owners and their employers to follow prescribed alcohol and drug testing rules. The rules outline the frequency, procedures, and substances tested before employment, during employment, and after accidents occur. Consider calling a truck accident lawyer Los Angeles after an accident.

What Types of Drugs are Tested?

When labs test drivers, they search for alcohol, amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, PCP, and other mood-altering drugs.

What If There is a Positive Test Result?

Drivers are considered under the influence if they refuse a drug test, register above a certain level of alcohol, or have any of the listed drugs in their system. A driver who tests positive for drugs or alcohol is forbidden from driving and working in all safety-related jobs. The drivers’ tentative return to duty is subject to the discretion of DOT-qualified substance abuse professionals.

Post-Accident Drug Testing for CDL Truck Drivers

Under federal law, employers must drug test drivers involved in an accident, given the following criteria.

  • The accident resulted in the death of one or more persons
  • If the accident resulted in one or more serious personal injuries that require immediate medical treatment and the police cite the truck driver
  • If any vehicle is disabled and towed from the accident scene and the police cite the truck driver

Employers are required to test for alcohol and drug use as soon as possible after a crash occurs. Alcohol tests must be administered within 8 hours, and drug tests within 32 hours. If employers are unable to conduct the tests within those time frames, they must cease their attempts.

In either unsuccessful attempt, the employer must create and maintain a record of the collection efforts and explain why they were unsuccessful.

A truck accident lawyer Los Angeles can subpoena employer and employee records to ensure drivers do not have drugs or alcohol in their systems while on the job.

Can a Police Officer Request Drug Tests?

Suppose a police officer believes that a CDL truck driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In that case, they may conduct sobriety testing at the accident scene and drug testing at the police station.

Additional Drug Testing By Employers

Employers are not limited to the drug testing guidelines set by the FMCSA. They may institute frequent or random drug tests to monitor their employees and maintain a safe driving environment. Since employers are often held responsible for their employees’ actions, it makes sense to randomly test them for drug use.

Do You Suspect a Truck Driver was Impaired?

If you think the truck driver who caused your injuries was impaired, driving while under the influence, tell the police officer at the accident scene.

Was the driver stumbling, have slurred or slow speech, or driving erratically? Is the truck in disrepair, such as torn tires or worn brakes? Did the driver forget to secure the cargo or latch the rear trailer doors? Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol tend to be forgetful.

Seek Legal Help from a Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney

If injured in a commercial truck accident and you believe the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers for help.

We will take steps to ensure that the driver and the trucking were compliant with state and federal laws and help you obtain the injury compensation you deserve.

Call (877) 771-8175 for a free case evaluation

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