Whether you’re a first-time trucker or a seasoned veteran, drug tests can become an important part of the job. This past month, new regulations put in place by the FMCSA will decrease the amount of drug testing performed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Tuesday, Dec. 13 it would maintain its current 25 percent random drug-testing rate of truck operators in 2017. This means carriers will be required to randomly test 25 percent of their drivers in the calendar year. This comes after finding that less than one percent of drug tests performed on truckers are found to be positive. This has many truckers breathing a sigh of relief and many trucking companies appreciating the extra money saved.
Drug Testing History
Up until about 30 years ago, the transportation industry was a lawless, Wild West career with no regulations whatsoever. Okay, not exactly, but it did take until 1991 for the government to implement drug and alcohol regulations. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act required employers to test employees for drugs and alcohol once hired.
While the required amount of drug-tested employees has differed, the laws have remained the same. Most companies will use hair follicle testing because it’s more reliable, however, urine testing is still acceptable as well. However, there are reports that a new federal bill will aim to require employers to use hair follicle testing.
Drug Testing Rundown
After passing your CDL test, drug testing will become a normal occurrence if you decide to pursue the career. All companies are required to implement a drug screening. According to the FMSCA, all trucking employees are federally required to drug test new employees before allowing them to operate a motor vehicle. Not only is this for your safety and those traveling around you, drug testing also will prevent the company from being sued for your mistake.
Now, after the FMCSA reiterated their 2016 bill, employers are required to randomly drug test at least 25 percent of their employees each year. However, the FMCSA has stipulated that if a number of violations rises to one percent, then they will revert back to the 50 percent testing requirement. The estimated violation rate for alcohol usage (the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or higher) in 2014 was 0.08 percent. For 2012 and 2013, the alcohol usage violation rates were 0.03 percent and 0.09 percent, respectively. The government will continue to monitor a number of violations and will change the drug testing requirements as needed.
Tips For Preparing For Drug Screening
Make sure to drink water the night before and the day of your drug test. If you’re dehydrated, it’s possible that your test will be inconclusive, and you might have to have to take another test. This applies only if you’re taking a urine test.
Make Prescriptions Available
Make sure to you have any prescriptions you take with you. There’s a chance that your test could come back positive for something that’s in your prescribed medication. In many cases, showing your employer why that drug might be in your system will get you off the hook. Always remember that honesty is the best policy, so maintaining an honest and forward approach will help you both in the long run. Make sure to make a follow-up appointment so you can provide legal documents of your prescribed medications.
Don’t Try Anything Funny
I’m sure there are dozens of “foolproof” ways to beat a drug test, but the truth is, there’s really not. If you know you’re going to fail a drug test, just be honest with your employer and own up to your mistake after the test results. You’re in a professional setting, so act like one. Everyone makes mistakes, but the best piece of advice is to not fail the test.