APRIL 18, 2017 – Accidents happen, even if you do everything in your power to prevent them. And although you may not be able to avoid an accident, what you can do is be prepared in case one occurs. As a DOT-regulated motor carrier, one of the most critical components of being prepared is understanding the Post-Accident drug and alcohol testing regulations.

When is a driver required to take a drug & alcohol test after an accident?

Many motor carriers believe that no matter what the circumstance is, a driver should take a drug and alcohol test after an accident. However, a post-accident test is only required in the following situations:

  • When there is one or more human fatalities
  • When at least one individual requires medical attention away from the scene AND the driver receives a citation for a moving violation
  • When at least one vehicle incurs disabling damage so that it cannot be driven from the scene AND the driver receives a citation for a moving violation

In summary:  Aside from a fatality, the only time a driver should take a federal post-accident drug and alcohol test is if it is determined that he or she was at fault and there is a tow-away or an individual is taken to a hospital.*

Related: Find Nearby Collection Sites for Post-Accident Testing

How long does a driver have to complete post-accident testing?

  • Alcohol tests should be completed within 2 hours, but must be completed within 8 hours. If it’s not completed within 2 hours, you must document the reason for the delay.
  • Drug tests should  be completed as soon as possible, but must take place within 32 hours

Adhering to these timeframes is often a challenge in post-accident situations – especially when a driver is retained at the scene for several hours or an investigation must conclude before it’s determined whether the driver was at fault.

This means that the driver must remain available for testing until the specified timeframes have passed.

If testing wasn’t completed, it is your responsibility to document the reason why.

Related: Post-Accident Testing as Part of a Comprehensive Program 

What if officers on the scene administer a breathalyzer or DUI evaluation?

Tests that officers administer on the scene are not conducted in accordance with federal DOT regulations and therefore will not satisfy your post-accident testing requirements. Furthermore, due to HIPPA laws, most jurisdictions will not release any test or evaluation results to employers following an accident.

Where can my driver go to complete post-accident testing?

This is where having a Third Party Administrator like Foley can be useful. Not only do we offer 24-hour emergency assistance for post-accident situations, but we work with thousands of DOT-qualified collection sites all over the country. In addition, our online Collection Site Locator is regularly updated and can be accessed at any time of the day or night.

If you have questions or concerns, leave them in the comments section below or call (800) 253-5506 for assistance.

This blog is the third in a Q&A series that will examine each specific DOT test type. Stay tuned for our next blog, which will uncover the specifics of Reasonable Suspicion DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing.

* Click here for information on non-federal Drug-Free Workplace programs.