Drivers Under the Influence of Drugs On the Rise

Many Blame the Legalization Of Marijuana

For many years, campaigns and extra patrolling throughout the U.S. has been done in an effort to put a stop to drunk driving and the horrific accidents that such actions cause.

Today at almost every sobriety checkpoint stops are also checking for drivers under the influence of drugs, and there’s been a change to what the law enforcement community is finding. The number of people driving under the influence of drugs is on the rise. It’s a statistic that many in the law enforcement community finds alarming.

In roadside surveys across the U.S. for 2014, alcohol detection in drivers dropped by nearly 30 percent, however, drivers that were intoxicated by drugs or tested positive for drugs, there was an increase of about 4 percent.
Law enforcement believes many Americans are turning to prescription drugs and illegal drugs like marijuana. Some drugs are not as easy to detect as alcohol.

The increasing number for drugs should be a concern for everybody on the roads as one in four drivers across the nation are testing positive for some kind of drug according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Therapist Robert Hutchens says the stigma on using drugs has decreased. He says people might not realize what kind of affect their drug use could have.

“Once a person takes these drugs into their system, the mind becomes altered,” Hutchens said. “Once that happens, their impact, whatever it is they’re doing, has a great impact on the greater society and the community.”

So what is a solution? The law enforcement community is pretty resolute on this issue.

“Education, education, education….it has taken many years of efforts with the anti-alcohol driving messages to get that message across, and its finally working to some degree,” Hutchens added. “We need that same thought, that same tenacity going into educating about prescription drugs.”

Hiring a Driver Who is Enrolled in a Previous Employers CSAT Program

Question: I’m hiring a new driver and he was working for another company that had him enrolled in their CSAT (drug testing) program, do I need to pre-employment test him?

Answer: Part 382, section 382.301(a) Prior to the first time a driver performs safety-sensitive functions for an employer, the driver shall undergo testing for controlled substances as a condition prior to being used, unless the employer uses the exception in paragraph (b) of this section. No employer shall allow a driver, who the employer intends to hire or use, to perform safety-sensitive functions unless the employer has received a controlled substances test result from the MRO or C/TPA indicating a verified negative test result for that driver (unless you choose the exception listed below).

Exceptions to the pre-employment test, only if all requirements listed below are completed.

  • The driver has been enrolled in a program within the past 30 days and has tested within the past 6 months and has no violations, or
  • The driver has participated in a program for the past 12 months and has no violations, and
    a. The employer ensures that no prior employer of the driver of whom the employer has knowledge has records of a violation of this part or the controlled substances use rule of another DOT agency within the previous six months.
    b. After receiving the driver’s written consent, the DER or Owner-Operator must request the following information for the driver’s past drug and alcohol testing records from the past employer(s) or consortium:
  • Name and address(es) of the program(s).
  • Verification that the driver participates or participated in the program(s).
  • Verification that the program(s) conforms to FMCSA 49 CFR Part 40.
  • Verification that the driver is qualified under the rules of this part, including that the driver has not refused to be tested for controlled substances.
  • The date the driver was last tested for controlled substances.
  • The results of any tests taken within the previous six months and any other violations of Part 382 Subpart B.

We do provided the Form 114 for this purpose, please refer to the back of the Form 114 for the Part 40, section 40.25 requirements regarding employee background checks requirements.

Per Part 40, section 40.25 all employers are required to check the drug and alcohol testing record of employees it is intending to use to perform safety-sensitive duty.

Again, the Form 114 can be used for that purpose; the bottom of the form only needs to be completed again if you are choosing to waive the pre-employment option under the exemption.

This post is also available in: Spanish