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NY State Expands Drug & Alcohol Testing Requirements
5 mins read

In the wake of a serious limousine accident in 2018 that led to 18 fatalities, the state of New York has enacted a series of new safety and driver compliance requirements for for-hire vehicle  motor carriers and drivers.

Beginning on February 3, 2021, one of these regulatory changes goes into effect. The new law will require that “all drivers of any for-hire vehicle having a seating capacity of nine or more passengers, including the driver” be entered into a drug and alcohol testing program – regardless of a commercial driver’s license endorsement. The drug and alcohol testing program must conform to the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing guidelines, as they are outlined in Part 382 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Upgrade to an EASY DOT Drug Testing Program -  Contact Us Today!

Under the current law, only drivers of vehicles that seated 16 or more passengers were required to be enrolled in a DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing program – which excluded many limousine drivers. As of February 3, this will change.

It’s important to point out that if you currently have a random testing pool for drivers who require testing under federal regulations, that you will need to set up a separate testing pool for drivers who must comply with this new state requirement.

What is a DOT Compliant Drug & Alcohol Testing Program?

In order to fully understand all the components of a DOT compliant drug and alcohol testing program, it’s important to become familiar with each type of DOT drug and alcohol test.

Pre-Employment Drug Testing

After you’ve decided to hire an applicant, you must send them for a pre-employment drug test.   Under no circumstances can a new hire begin driving until you’ve received a verified negative drug test result.

The FMCSA does not require pre-employment alcohol testing. If you do decide to administer a pre-employment alcohol test, you will need to do alcohol tests for all subsequent applicants.

Random Drug & Alcohol Testing

According to the new state law, all drivers of vehicles designed to carry nine or more passengers (including the driver)  must be subject to random unannounced drug and alcohol tests. After receiving a negative pre-employment drug test result, drivers must be added into a random testing program. Because the FMCSA has specific requirements as to how random testing programs must be administered, most companies employ a Third Party Administrator (such as Foley) to manage their random testing program.

Post-Accident Drug & Alcohol Testing

Post-Accident drug and alcohol testing is required when any of the following circumstances apply:

  • Any number of human fatalities
  • An injury to at least one individual that requires medical attention away from the scene AND the driver receives a citation
  • At least one vehicle involved incurs disabling damage so that it cannot be driven from the scene AND the driver receives a citation

Reasonable Suspicion Drug & Alcohol Testing and Training Requirements for Supervisors

When an employer suspects that a driver may be abusing drugs and/or alcohol, the first thought is that they have to get the individual tested. Because of Driver Rights and subsequent legal repercussions, however, the FMCSA has strict regulations as to when testing can be administered.  To ensure drivers’ rights are protected, at least one employee must complete two hours of training in reasonable suspicion regulations.  At Foley, we provide reasonable suspicion training as part of our comprehensive drug and alcohol program.  We also have a stand-alone product here.

Upgrade to an EASY DOT Drug Testing Program -  Contact Us Today!

Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy

The FMCSA requires all employers to implement a Drug & Alcohol Policy that each driver reviews and signs. These policies must be detailed and specific – another reason many employers opt to hire a Third Party Administrator for policy implementation.

If you’re required to enroll your drivers into a DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing program, it’s important for you to understand and implement each part of these regulations to avoid significant fines or out-of-service orders. If you need help getting your program set up, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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