August 15, 2017

A Little Bit More On Drug Testing

By Paul Bieber

This week, let’s talk about after-accident testing and some surprising comments about job applicant and ongoing testing procedural problems.

First, let’s find out about testing after a vehicle accident. And this is broken down into two parts. If your drivers are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the rules will follow in a moment. If you are driving small vans, and don’t cross a state line, then you need to follow the regulations in your state. Be aware though, that if you don’t formally drug test, and an employee of yours causes an accident, and goes to the hospital for some reason, the hospital will, almost always, do a drug test. If that is positive, and you have not tested, the court case will, 99 times out of a 100, go against you.

So, back to CDL testing (and what everyone should do). If you have CDL drivers, you must pre-test for drugs, no questions asked on that point. The after-accident testing is a bit confusing. Read on.

If there is a human fatality, you as the employer must test your employee, usually as soon as the employee returns to your shop. My company ran 16 trucks, and for over 20 years, this never happened. If there is bodily injury with medical treatment away from the scene of the accident, and your driver is cited for the accident, then you must test ASAP. If your driver is NOT cited, then you don’t have to test. If you do test, that may be discoverable if you end up in court.  

Here’s even more confusion. If any vehicle involved in the accident needs to be towed, and your driver is cited, you must test. If your driver is not cited, you need not test.  

That is the basic part of the Federal regulations for after-accident testing. Confusion still on the point if your driver has a CDL, but is driving a small van that does need meet federal standards. Do you follow state or federal guidelines? It is important to know for your state. You can get the answer to this and many other testing questions from a local drug-testing company.

After my last blog, I received some interesting emails concerning marijuana testing in states where it is legal. How can an employer deny or fire someone from a job when doing a legal activity? An employer can’t fire someone after drinking a beer on Saturday night, so what is the difference? To me, the difference is perception. It may take some years before our society as a whole accepts marijuana. Until that point, it is ‘drug’ and therefore not universally accepted.  

If you drug test employees or applicants, you can tell your drug testing company not to run the test for marijuana, but they can test for more potent products. This is your choice as an owner of a business. Make this choice carefully, based on the laws in your state and after you have discussed this with your attorney.