Quick Review of Federal Drug and Alcohol Rules for Commercial Drivers

August 12, 2014

Federal Rules on Alcohol

Commercial truck driving is one of the country's Top 10 most hazardous jobs. When you spend your work day (and night) battling traffic and inattentive drivers on America's highways, safety needs to be Job One if you want to return home safely. As every heavy duty truck driver knows, job safety begins with personal safety.

Safety Is Job #1

  • To do your job, you need to keep yourself healthy which means getting enough sleep, eating healthy on the road, exercising and making sure you don't drink and drive. Having a couple of beers with your burger at the truck stop before taking the wheel of your tractor trailer and turning onto the highway may seem harmless; but it is a recipe for disaster that can put you on the fast track to the unemployment line -- or worse.
  • To promote highway safety, Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act in 1991. Known as Part 40, the act empowers the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct random alcohol and drug testing of transportation industry employees. Administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), federal drug and alcohol regulations apply to all commercial truck and bus drivers required to have a commercial driver's license.

What You Need to Know

Here's what truckers need to know about drug and alcohol rules. Additional information is available on the FMCSA website.

  1. Any CDL driver who drives a commercial truck on public roads may be subject to alcohol and drug testing.
  2. In addition to alcohol, testing is conducted for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and PCP. Trucking companies may legally require additional drug tests and may implement drug and alcohol policies more stringent than federal regulations.
  3. Commercial drivers are subject to random testing and must pass drug and alcohol tests before employment and after certain types of traffic accidents.

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