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Your Driver Needs Post-Accident Testing – Now What?
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

When one of your drivers is involved in an accident, especially a serious one, your head will already be spinning with a million questions and concerns. You’ll be wondering if anyone was hurt, where the accident occurred, what the damage is, and, if the evidence is there, whether your driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  

Even if the answer to this last question is yes, there are specific steps you’ll need to take in order to ensure both accuracy and compliance. We’ve covered them (along with the potential consequences if you don’t follow the legal requirements) in this blog article: Post-Accident Testing & The Clearinghouse: The Implications of an Unauthorized Test 

If any of the circumstances explained in the above article have happened and you’re 100% certain the DOT post-accident testing criteria has been met, you’ll need to act quickly. 

Time Frames for Post-Accident Testing 

According to federal regulations, a driver involved in a serious accident that meets the above criteria must do the following:  

  • Take a DOT alcohol test within two hours of the accident 
  • Take a DOT drug test within 32 hours of the accident 

Depending on the circumstances, a driver may not be able to leave the scene of the accident and take the alcohol test within such a short period of time. If this is the case, you’ll need to document why the test was not completed every two hours that the driver could not get to the testing site, until the eight-hour time limit is reached. The need for a DOT alcohol test is then invalidated at this point.  

The process is the same for the drug test. If the driver cannot leave the scene and the mandated drug test is not completed within 32 hours, you must document the reasons why the test could not be done. The need for a DOT drug test is also invalidated after the 32-hour timeframe has passed.

It’s important to note that even if a law enforcement officer administers a breath alcohol test or other DUI evaluation at the scene, they cannot take the place of a DOT-mandated test. The results may not be available in accordance with HIPAA laws, and specific DOT drug and alcohol testing procedures must still be followed in addition to performing these tests. 

Acceptable DOT Testing Types 

As of today, urinalysis is the only method of post-accident drug and alcohol testing acceptable for federally regulated businesses; however, that could change soon. You may remember the Department of Transportation (DOT) announcing new proposed oral fluid testing guidelines back in February. If this proposed rulemaking is approved, saliva testing would be another viable option for companies to choose for their post-accident needs.  

Don’t Stress About DOT-Compliant Drug Testing 

There are numerous benefits to oral fluid testing. It can be done directly at the scene of an accident, removing the issue of beating the clock to get a urine sample in time. It can also be observed without privacy intrusions, nearly eliminating the chances of “cheating” or replacing a urine sample with a “clean” specimen that did not come from the driver in question.  

For now, sending your driver to a certified collection lab for a urine test is the only way to legally obtain post-accident results. 

Where to Go for Post-Accident Testing 

You’ll need to send your driver to a DOT-qualified collection site for a post-accident test. If you’re not sure where to find one, Foley can help. We offer 24/7 emergency assistance for customers who find themselves in post-accident situations, and we can connect you with one of our thousands of trusted labs anywhere in the country. You can also take advantage of our online collection site locator at all hours of the day or night to find the most convenient spot for your driver.   

If Your Driver Fails or Refuses the Test

Since your number one priority as a motor carrier is to operate a safe fleet, you may never have had a driver who failed a post-accident drug test. But if you ever do, you need to take specific actions after the fact.  

In the eyes of the DOT, a driver refusing to take a test is equal to a positive test result. If an employee produces a positive drug test result, registers a 0.02% or greater blood alcohol content (BAC), or refuses to test after an accident, the driver must: 

  • Be removed from all safety-sensitive job functions immediately 
  • Be evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) 
  • Complete all counseling or substance abuse treatment recommended by the SAP
    before returning to work 
  • Take a return-to-duty drug test and provide a negative result before resuming safety-sensitive duties 

The DOT employer handbook also explains what constitutes a test refusal, who can determine it as such, and how to handle different types of refusals. You can find guidance on this starting on page 25. 

Putting Post-Accident Testing Practices in Place 

Make sure your workplace drug and alcohol policies include post-accident testing procedures and encourage your employees to openly discuss any questions or concerns they may have regarding them. The more communication surrounding the topic, the more aware your fleet will be of the risks involved with driving under the influence and the consequences of doing so.  

Foley’s drug and alcohol testing program has everything you need to be compliant, including a written DOT post-accident drug testing policy, 24/7 online support as mentioned above, the most up-to-date electronic Custody and Control Forms (eCCFs), and more.  

Get to know the Foley platform by calling our experienced DOT compliance specialists or signing up for a free software demo. You’ll see why so many DOT-regulated businesses have depended on us for their drug and alcohol testing needs, especially after a serious accident has occurred.

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