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The federal government has a vested interest in making sure that nobody operating large commercial vehicles on U.S. roadways is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To that end, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation have put rules in place requiring that commercial drivers are regularly tested for drugs and alcohol. These rules (49 CFR Part 382) govern test frequency and procedures and the substances those tests are looking for.

Who is required to abide by FMCSA testing requirements?

Simply put, if you operate a vehicle that requires a commercial drivers license, or CDL, you are under the authority of the FMCSA. This is true whether you work for a company, no matter how large, or whether you are an owner/operator.

Learn more: Are you covered by the FMCSA rules? Walk through this decision tree to find out.

Here’s what the FMCSA says about liability for commercial truck drivers: “While it is the responsibility of your employer to provide you with information on drug and alcohol testing programs, it is still ultimately your responsibility to obey all rules and regulations in order to keep our roadways safe.”

What are the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing requirements?

The rules require drug and alcohol testing in three general situations: before the start of employment, after an accident, and at random times throughout the driver’s employment.

The FMCSA rules can get complicated. For example, there are specific rules regarding the minimum annual percentage of drivers tested, the scientific validity of random selection procedures, when drivers are subject to alcohol tests in addition to drug tests, and the actual specifics of the testing operation. To ensure they are in compliance, many employers and owner/operators turn to companies like Bostec to manage the testing operation.

How can Bostec help with FMCSA requirements?

Bostec’s experienced experts help many companies handle their compliance programs, freeing them up to focus on their business. For example, Bostec works with Simple Box to handle FMCSA compliance at the company’s locations in Washington, Oregon and Arizona.

Bostec has mobile testing facilities that can test on-site at your workplace, and we have facilities set up here in Lynden if it’s easier for companies to send their drivers to us. Bostec’s Lynden office also handles walk-in testing appointments.

Learn more: Beware scammers who try to sell DOT-required drug testing training.

By the way, it’s worth remembering that while the use of marijuana is now legal in many states, it’s prohibited by anyone operating a commercial vehicle. According to the FMCSA clearinghouse, which reports statistics regarding drug and alcohol testing for commercial drivers, marijuana was by far the drug that caused the most positive drug tests in 2020 and 2021.

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