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Understanding Post-Accident Testing Procedures
4 mins read

MAY 7, 2019 – As a motor carrier, it’s probably one of the phone calls you dread getting the most: one of your drivers has been in an accident. In those first few seconds, there will probably be a flurry of questions going through your mind:

Was your driver (or anyone else involved) hurt?

Who was at fault?

What kind of damage are we talking about?

For DOT-regulated drivers, another question that needs to be asked is this: Does your driver require a post-accident drug and alcohol test?

When a DOT Test is Required

According to DOT regulations, employers are required to send drivers for post-accident testing when any of the following occur:

  • There was a human fatality
  • Someone involved in the accident required immediate medical treatment away from the scene AND the driver was issued a citation
  • One or more of the vehicles involved in the accident required a tow away AND the driver was issued a citation

It’s important to keep in mind that unless your company has a separate drug and alcohol policy in place that calls for drug and/or alcohol testing after any type of accident, that these are the only times you’re permitted to send your drivers for testing.

Have Questions About DOT Audits? We Can Help!

How Long Does a Driver Have to go for Testing?

To comply with federal regulations, drivers must take a DOT alcohol test within two hours of the accident and a DOT drug test within 32 hours. As anyone who has been involved in an accident can attest to, it can be a time-consuming process. If the driver is unable to leave the scene of the accident and complete the alcohol test within the required two hour timeframe, you must document why the test wasn’t completed. This documentation must continue for every two-hour timeframe that the driver was unable to get to the testing site until the eight-hour limit is reached. At this point, the need for a DOT alcohol test would be invalidated.

With drug testing, the process is the same: if the driver isn’t able to complete the mandated drug test within 32 hours, the employer must document the reason(s) why the test couldn’t be completed. After the 32 hour limit has passed, the need for a DOT drug test would be invalidated.

Keep in mind: although a law enforcement official may  administer a breath alcohol test or other DUI evaluation at the scene, these tests cannot be used as a replacement for the DOT-mandated test. Not only are results of these tests not always available due to HIPPA laws, but the DOT has specific drug and alcohol testing procedures in place that must be followed.

Failure to follow these regulations can result in serious financial penalties for the employer, so it’s important to follow these steps carefully in the event of any accident – and to keep clear records of all of your drug and alcohol testing efforts.

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