Q1. My company purchased a large truck that is over 26,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). We do not currently employ any commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers. The vehicle has only been driven a few times by a family friend, who is not an employee and has driven the vehicle as a favor absent any compensation. Does our company need a DOT drug and alcohol testing program to test this occasional driver?
A1. Yes.In accordance with 382.103, your company must implement a DOT drug and alcohol program for all drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that requires the driver to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Section 382.107 defines “Driver” as “any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle.” This includes, but is not limited to: full time, regularly-employed drivers; casual, intermittent or occasional drivers; leased drivers and independent owner-operator contractors. Your company must either cease all operations of the CMV on public roads, or implement a DOT drug and alcohol testing program for any driver before he/she may operate the vehicle, regardless of whether driver compensation is involved.
Q2. When are drivers subject to the DOT Drug and Alcohol testing requirements?
A2. All drivers that operate a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in 49 CFR 382.107, which requires a driver holding a commercial driver’s license, are subject to the Drug and Alcohol testing requirements in 49 CFR Parts 40 and 382. (See 49 CFR 383.3 . This includes, but is not limited to: full time, regularly-employed drivers; casual, intermittent or occasional drivers; leased drivers and independent owner-operator contractors.
Q3. Are CDL drivers who are employed by state government agencies subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements?
A3. Yes, Drivers for government agencies who operate vehicles that require a CDL, and are not otherwise exempted in 382.103(d) are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing.
The statutory definition of “employer” for Part 382, applies to any person including the United States, a State or a political subdivision of a State, and the District of Columbia, that owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle or assigns employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle. 382.103(c) specifically provides that the exceptions from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for Federal, State, and local government agencies do not apply to the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing requirements in Part 382. The only exceptions to the requirements of part 382 are found in 382.103.
Q4. Driving School Applicability: Is a person who is attending a truck driving school, and does not yet have a commercial learner’s permit or CDL, required to complete the return-to-duty process if they test positive on a DOT pre-employment test at the school?
A4. Persons who do not have a commercial learner’s permit or CDL are not subject to the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. Therefore a drug test performed by the driving school on a student that does not possess a commercial learner’s permit or CDL does not qualify as a DOT pre-employment test and the student would not be subject to the DOT return-to-duty process.
Truck driving schools/employers must include prospective student drivers that possess a commercial learner’s permit or CDL in their DOT testing program before such drivers are allowed to operate a CMV that requires a CDL. See 382.103, Question 2.