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Commercial Drivers Drug and Alcohol Testing – Part 1


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees an extensive testing and education program to help employers protect the public against drivers who use controlled substances and/or alcoholic beverages during their work. We will discuss the program in several parts. We’ll first focus on the actual regulations.

 Nationally, drivers must comply with the following:

  • 04 is the maximum blood alcohol level for persons operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The driver cannot possess any non-manifested (listed) drugs or alcohol in his vehicle.
  • No on-duty use of drugs or alcohol permitted, including avoidance of use within four hours before operation or eight hours following an automobile accident.
  • Cannot refuse either a random or post-accident drug or alcohol test.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Definition - Under the rules, a commercial motor vehicle is one that has a gross combined weight (GCW) of more than 26,000 lbs.; that is made to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver); or that is used to transport hazardous material.

Persons Subject to Testing - Any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle must follow regulations. Affected persons include, full-time, regularly employed drivers (included self-employed operators); casual, intermittent or occasional drivers; leased drivers and independent owner operator contractors who are either directly employed by or under lease to an employer who operates a commercial motor vehicle at the direction of or with the consent of an employer. It’s important that businesses be aware that any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle must comply with the program, regardless whether the person has a commercial driver’s license. Further, drivers for civic organizations and churches are also subject to the program.

Please see parts two and three of this article.