DOT Pre-Employment and Drug Testing Recommendations after Fatal Crash Investigation
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
Following an investigation into a June 25, 2015, crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., involving a tractor-trailer where six people were killed in the crash, and four others injured, the National Transportation Safety Board said last week the U.S. DOT needs to tighten pre-employment driver screening for carriers.
Although NTSB’s recommendations carry no legal bearing and are recommendations from one government transportation entity to another, all four recommendations would affect carriers and their hiring process, if implemented.
What’s done with the recommendations is yet to be seen but it shouldn’t be a surprise if the FMCSA does do something in these areas:
- While NTSB did not recommend that FMCSA require carriers to conduct hair drug testing on drivers, it did recommend that the agency provide information to carriers about the use of hair testing to detect the use of controlled substances as an option instead of urine testing.
- Requiring carriers to conduct the same review on potential new driver hires as they conduct for a driver’s annual evaluation;
- Examining the value, accuracy and timing of the information provided to carriers through FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program, as well as the costs and incentives for carriers using the program;
- And publishing best practices for pre-employment investigations of drivers for carriers.
Hair Testing Information
Regarding hair testing, this method is the only drug testing method available that provides a 90-day drug use history window (urine drug testing has a 2-3 day window). While urine testing is well suited to detect recent drug use for post-accident or reasonable suspicion testing, a hair test is the most effective way to evaluate long-term patterns of use, making it an excellent option for a pre-employment or random testing program.
For more information on hair testing, please check out these links:
DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The second point foreshadows the coming final rule on the DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. In this rule, carriers would be required to query the database when making new hires and once a year for existing drivers, according to the proposed rule published in 2014 by FMCSA. If a driver refuses to allow the query, he or she would be barred from driving.
Darling said the clearinghouse rule will help ensure that truck drivers remain free of drugs and alcohol. “The rulemaking goes a long way towards that goal,” Darling said Oct. 3. A final rule is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and are expected to be published in the Federal Register by the end of the year.
To help ensure candidates have the credentials and background you require, it takes a systematic approach to dig out the details and verify the history. If you are a motor carrier, the DOT has very specific hiring procedure requirements that must be documented and made available for audit.
Failure to get the background information in a non regulated organization can lead to costly hiring mistakes. Failure for a motor carrier to get the background information can put your entire company at risk.
CleanFleet, and it’s sister company Glostone Trucking Solutions, offers Customized Employment Screening Services:
- Inquiry to Previous Employer(s) (DOT required)
- Drug and Alcohol History Inquiry (DOT required)
- Criminal Background Inquiry
- Sexual Predator Inquiry
- Social Security Verification
- DOT Pre-employment Screening Program
- Driving History Reports
- Headline and Social Network Searches
- DOT CSA Scoring Report
- On-going Driver Qualification File/Personnel File Maintenance (Web based)
For more information on anything mentioned in this article, give our expert staffs at CleanFleet a call at 503-479-6082.