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Are Bus Operators Subject to Alcohol, Drug Testing? - II

In a previous post, we began discussing how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration takes the danger posed by impaired driving very seriously, mandating that all drivers licensed to operate commercial motor vehicles — vehicles whose gross vehicle weight rating is over 26,000 or carry more than 16 passengers — submit to a rigorous testing program.

Specifically, we started discussing how the FMCSA permits random drug and alcohol testing of all bus drivers, and mandates drug screening for all prospective bus drivers.

In today’s post, we’ll continue this discussion, focusing on the other types of testing to which bus operators are subject and the testing procedures themselves.

How is the decision about random testing made?

The FMCSA allows for supervisors who have undergone specialized training from the Department of Transportation to order bus drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to submit to random testing when they have reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol abuse.

This decision, however, must be based on direct observation of things like speech patterns, behavior, appearance, odors and other indicia of possible substance abuse.

What happens in the aftermath of a bus accident?

In the event CDL drivers are issued a citation for their involvement in a traffic accident resulting in either personal injuries or vehicle immobilization, they must submit to drug and alcohol testing. Such testing is also mandatory whenever a CDL driver is involved in a deadly crash, regardless of whether they are issued a citation.

The test for alcohol must take place within eight hours of the wreck, while the test for drugs must take place within 32 hours of the wreck.

What happens when a CDL driver is notified of a mandatory test?

The CDL driver must report to the designated testing site within the designated timeframe, or preferably as soon as possible, in order to provide a urine sample.

It should be noted that they have only three hours to produce this sample and that leaving the testing site prior to the completion of the process may be treated as a refusal.

We will continue this discussion in future posts, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you or your loved one have had their lives turned upside down in a bus accident caused by a negligent driver or company.