CDL drivers and potential drivers will be required to submit to drug and /or alcohol screening at any time in the pre-employment or employment process. DOT regulations prohibit drivers from refusing a drug or alcohol test.
Currently, the only legally accepted method to satisfy Federal DOT drug testing requirements is through urinalysis (UA), though many companies are using hair follicle testing in addition to UA. This means that while trucking companies are required by the FMCSA to use UA to test for drugs, they are allowed to also use hair follicle testing as a more thorough screening method for their own internal purposes.
Drivers will be tested for the presence of Schedule 1 narcotics and also prescription drugs. In some cases drivers will also undergo alcohol testing.
When a drug is processed through the body, it produces metabolites Substances created as by-products of drugs during the metabolic processes (chemical reactions) in the body.which collect in the bloodstream and hair follicles. Drug tests are used to detect the presence of these metabolites.
Aside from the obvious safety issues surrounding CDL drivers who use drugs, drug abuse in the workplace puts employers at a greater risk for higher insurance rates, as well as liability issues when it results in accidents or injuries.
Generally, a refusal to take a drug or alcohol test will be considered the same as a failure. In some cases, inability to produce enough urine or hair to be properly tested will be considered a refusal. A failed DOT drug or alcohol test will become part of a drivers permanent record. Drivers will be given ample opportunity to produce a sample, as detailed here: DOT Problems In Drug Tests
While there are generally accepted detection times, there are many factors that can impact urinalysis drug detection time frames, including:
Urinalysis, in addition to testing for drug use, can be used as an indicator of overall health, to detect kidney and metabolic disorders, urinary tract infections, and blood sugar issues (diabetes).
Urinalysis is the most common method of drug-screening used, and is currently the only method accepted to satisfy Federally-mandated testing. Generally, urinalysis will test for drug use within a 2-10 day window, but the type of drug and frequency of use will cause the detection window to vary wildly.
Steroid use can generally be detected anywhere from 14 days to 3 months, depending on the type and frequency of use.
Heavy marijuana use could be detected through urinalysis for up to 60 days. Passive exposure (second-hand smoke) will generally not give a positive test if exposure is limited.
Samples collected in the morning are more desirable for testing, as they will be more concentrated and likely show more abnormalities.
A complete urinalysis will be made up of 3 separate testing phases:
The color, concentration, and clarity will be evaluated.
Normally, specially treated test strips will be dipped in the urine, and specially treated sections will change colors to give the technician results, either to determine the presence or absence of drugs, or to assess other general health issues.
Will not normally be performed as part of a drug test, except in the case of abnormal findings during the visual or chemical examination.
Generally accepted time frames for benzoylecgonine (the metabolite of cocaine that is tested for) to show in UA are:
Use of alcohol or caffeine alongside or after using cocaine will lengthen the amount of time it takes for Benzoylecgonine to be eliminated.
Common opiates include morphine, codeine, Methadone, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone. Opiates and morphine derivatives will generally be detectable in urine for 1-12 days, depending on frequency of use and amount of dosage.
In general, amphetamines and methamphetamines have a detection period of 1-5 days in urine,
PCP is stored in fatty lipid tissue, and can be released into the bloodstream for up to several weeks. General guidelines are 1-10 days for casual use, and 1-4 weeks for heavy or chronic users.
Hair Follicle vs. Urinalysis Drug Testing: Breakdown By Company
All substances will remain in the hair follicle until hair is cut off. Drug use can be detected through hair follicle testing after approximately 5-10 days, the average time that it will take for affected hair to grow past the scalp. Most hair follicle drug tests will test for a period of 90 to 120 days. As the average human hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, that would require about 1 1/2 inches of hair for testing.
Hair on a person's head grows an average of 1/2-inch per month, and the average length of hair is 1 1/2-inches. TruckingTruth did not actually make those measurements, it's all science-y statistical stuff.
Therefore, the normal standard is for the trucking companies to use hair follicle testing to check back 90 days for the presence of metabolites indicating drug use. Hair is cut as close to the scalp as possible. The minimum amount of time tested is normally about 1 month (1/2 inch). The longer the hair, the farther back the test can trace drug activity.
If the hair on the head is not long enough, body hair can be substituted. Body hair grows slower, and is normally replaced yearly, so it is more difficult to accurately represent a time frame.
Hair follicle testing has been shown to be more effective than urine analysis in detecting low-level drug use, as most drugs are rapidly excreted and undetectable with urinalysis within about 72 hours. Marijuana screening is known to be slightly less effective when using the hair test, but is accepted as a rough equivalent.
Around 70-100 hairs are needed to perform testing on hair follicles, or roughly the diameter of a pencil. Excess hair that is not used for testing will normally be kept in the chain-of-custody container, for various periods of time, depending on the testing service provider, the employer, and a negative or positive result.
Hair samples are washed thoroughly to remove external contamination (residue from smoke and other substances), and cut-off levels are established to help prevent positive results from passive inhalation (second-hand smoke). However, washing, shampooing, or treating the hair will not remove traces of drugs within the hair, nor will it cover them up.
Alcohol is normally detectable with a breathalyzer for up to 12-24 hours. Rule of thumb is that a body will typically burn an ounce of alcohol, i.e. one shot or one beer, per hour. A person's BAC is determined by factors such as body size and weight, metabolism rate, food intake, and type and amount of alcohol consumed. These times should be considered general guidelines rather than absolutes.
Alcohol testing will normally be performed using a DOT-approved breathalyzer device (Evidential Breath Testing device, or EBT).
A positive test for alcohol concentration of more than 0.02 in the system will be confirmed by waiting 15 minutes and re-testing. A confirmation test showing less than 0.02 BAC will require no further action, while a test at 0.02 BAC or more will be reported to the employer.
In some cases, a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may be checked by testing saliva, instead.
A positive test of 0.02 will require that a driver be off-duty for at least 24 hours, and a level of 0.04 or greater will require a CDL holder to be placed out-of-service until completion of the return-to-duty process.
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle
The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.
What Does The FMCSA Do?
A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.
State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.
BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:
It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.
Operating While Intoxicated
When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.