Does Post-Accident Testing have a Seasonal Trend?
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
It’s always difficult when the call comes in informing you that your driver has been involved in an accident. For a lot of companies, the process for a post-accident drug test is about to begin. But is there a way to prevent or predict when an accident might occur? But can you predict when an accident might occur?
At CleanFleet, we took a look at our data to see if seasonality comes into play around post-accident drug testing, and the data may shock you.
When does my employee need to be tested if post-accident testing is required?
Before we look at the trends in our data, let’s recap best practices in post-accident testing. In the trucking industry, a best practice federal standard, FMCSA regulations state testing for drugs and alcohol must take place “as soon as practicable following an occurrence”.
Post-Accident Alcohol Testing must be administered “within eight hours of the occurrence”. However, if alcohol testing is not completed within two hours, the employer must maintain written documentation regarding the reason(s) testing could not occur. If testing is not completed within eight hours, the employer “shall cease attempts to administer an alcohol test and maintain the same record”.
Post-Accident Drug Testing must be administered “within 32 hours of the occurrence”. If testing is not completed within 32 hours, the employer “shall cease attempts to administer a controlled substances test, and prepare and maintain on file a record stating the reasons the test was not promptly administered”.
In any Post-Accident situation, the driver “shall remain readily available” for testing. If one does not remain available, he/she may be “deemed by the employer to have refused to submit”.
If you are not federally regulated by the DOT, these best practices need to be clearly stated and understood by employees in your drug testing policy.
Trends leading to seasonal accidents that need post-accident drug testing
Now for the data. Over the last three years (2013 – 2015) CleanFleet has seen Q4 have 33% of all post-accident testing where Q1-3 average 23%. That is over a 40% increase in post-accident drug testing in Q4 than any other quarter. This trend make sense because Q4 ends with the holiday season and enters the winter weather.
However, the winter weather into the New Year seems to be less of a factor in accidents needing a post-accident drug test. When compared Q4 data to Q1 alone there is over an 80% increase in post-accident testing in Q4!
So what does this data tell us?
Companies that have a fleet of cars, vans, or semi-trucks need to prepare themselves for an accident in the 4th quarter. There are several things companies can do in order to prepare themselves. First, DERs and safety managers need be sure to know the process of post-accident drug testing if a call does come in. This includes when a test is needed, where the test can take place, how quickly the test needs to be administered, and what to do if the test results come back positive.
Second, leading up to Q4 is a good time to think about Defensive Driving training, . The first quarter of the year is also a good time to reflect on the previous year and make changes to your drug testing policy as needed.
CleanFleet can help with training staff and drivers on DER and post-accident testing procedure training, as well as with updating your companies drug testing policy and making sure it is legal in the states you have employees. Email or call us at 503-479-6082.
Let’s be safe out there during the upcoming holiday season!