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New DOT Drug Tests for Truck Drivers

Effective 1 January 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will add the semi-synthetic opioids oxymorphone, oxycodone hydrocodone, and hydromorphone to the list of drug tests for truck drivers and other commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, pilots, and train engineers. This is in response to the widespread use and abuse of opioids nationwide. The DOT drug tests already include marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, Phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates such as morphine, codeine, and 6-AM..

Why Add These Drug Tests?

Adding these four drugs will bring the DOT more in line with the existing Health and Human Services (HHS) mandatory Federal workplace urine testing guidelines. The HHS is the agency directed to specify drug-testing in Federal workplaces by Executive Order 12564 and the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (OTETA).

The change to the Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) also does away with the need for trucking companies to submit blind specimens. Blind specimens are random samples with a fake name, used as a quality assurance tool that the DOT found was no longer necessary due to the expense, the low number of false positives (since 1991 no false positives were reported), and meticulous HHS oversight of the testing program.

FAQ by Truckers About Drug Tests in General

Q: What if I have a prescription for a tested Opioid?

A: First, although the CFR does not require it because it might infringe on the individual’s medical privacy, a CDL holder should notify their employer so that they can decide regarding any safety issues.

Q: What if I have a prescription for medical marijuana?

A: Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance by the Federal Government and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Thus, there is no allowance for use, even in states where it is legal with a prescription.

Q: Must I complete a drug test after an accident even when I was found not at fault?

A: Yes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may not always require it, but many trucking companies do for insurance purposes, and refusal might mean a loss of your job. At-fault accidents require a drug test and accidents involving a fatality, regardless of fault.

Q: Can I refuse fleet management’s request for a drug test?

A: No, refusing a test is the same as testing positive. You will lose your CDL for at least a year, and you must attend professional counseling. During counseling, you must complete six random drug tests within a year. Plus, other requirements set forth by the DOT before returning to duty. Along with pre-employment drug tests for CDL holders, there is a requirement for most trucking companies to complete random drug tests of 10% of their employees. Independent truckers must take part in a cooperative with at least two other drivers. In addition, if a driver, in the opinion of management, appears under the influence, they can order a drug test.

Q: The company I applied to drive for is requesting a hair follicle test, do I have to comply?

A: Either that or go to another company. It is not a DOT requirement yet, though has been proposed, so it might be in the future because drug residue stays in the hair longer than the blood system.

Remember, drug tests are for your benefit as well as the rest of the drivers on America’s highways.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Defense Team

As a CDL holder, you know your career and livelihood is in jeopardy. When you get a ticket, you need legal representation you can count on to give you every possible advantage. That’s why most truckers in the Central Valley and LA call Bigger & Harman. They handle only traffic ticket cases and are adept at getting reduced charges and dismissals for log book and permit violations, speeding, and overweight trucks.

If you read their reviews on Yelp, you will discover many are satisfied truckers who are now back at work. Read their Nolo.com write-up. Nolo is a significant online digest for legal professionals.

Contacting them is now possible on their Facebook page or the Bigger & Harman website contact form.

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to set up an appointment for a consultation. You might also wish to send them an email with a scanned copy of your ticket and the details, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

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