What’s the difference between a pre-employment and post-accident drug test?


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has alcohol and drug-testing regulations put in place to promote a safer driving environment for truck drivers and those with whom they share the road. The two most notable procedures involved are the pre-employment and post-accident screenings. All truck drivers should be aware of the process and prepared to comply.


Before operating a commercial motor vehicle, new employees must be tested for Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, and Phencyclidine. Alcohol screening is also allowed, but not required by federal law. To complete the process, the driver must undergo a physical examination and provide a urine sample to be analyzed by a certified lab. The results are returned to a medical review officer, who may then discuss things with the driver before sending the findings on to the employer. There has been a recent push by government and some trucking companies to change over to hair testing, which is seen as a more reliable and extensive form of drug screening.


While both random or reasonable suspicion testing may arise throughout the career of a truck driver, they will also be forced to undergo testing in the case of an accident. Any time a crash causes a fatality, or the driver receives a moving violation involving a towed vehicle or injury requiring medical attention, a post-accident screening is triggered. In this case, an alcohol test is performed within 8 hours of the accident and a drug screening within 32 hours. Any driver who flees the scene will be considered to have refused testing, and treated as such.


If any drug or alcohol screening results in failure, the driver must go through an extensive evaluation and treatment program before being considered for safety sensitive situations again. The truck-driving community takes drug and alcohol use very seriously. We encourage drivers to steer clear of behavior that jeopardizes their employment and puts innocent drivers at risk.