Marijuana Testing in Commercial Drivers

Marijuana Testing in Commercial Drivers

Amazon announced at the beginning of June 2021 that it would no longer continue testing for marijuana in its comprehensive drug screening program for positions that are not regulated by the Department of Transportation. Although they are increasing the prospective worker pool by up to 30%, is this the safest idea for their delivery drivers?

Companies may look at Amazon’s announcement and decide to follow in its footsteps, but consider the following before rushing to a decision.

Why continue testing for marijuana?

Marijuana Affects Driving

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — the lead federal agency supporting scientific research on drug use and its consequences — writes that “marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.” They also write that marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in drug tests of drivers who have been in vehicle crashes.1 Many arguments against marijuana testing are made by people who claim that the substance does not affect their driving ability and even sometimes makes it better. However, there is no evidence to support those claims, and many studies have been conducted that prove otherwise.

Liability

Federal law requires employers to maintain a “drug-free” work environment, especially when involved with commercial or public transportation, and to do so via drug and alcohol testing. Companies that fail to do so are responsible for fines and penalties, especially when an employee under the influence causes damages that could have been prevented by testing. The laws surrounding these tests and which substances need to be tested can be complex and confusing, so it is important to cover all of your bases when safety is on the line.

Legalization

As more states continue to legalize the use of marijuana, the general use of the drug has also increased, along with the rise in positive drug tests in commercial drivers. Within the first three months of 2021, 14,324 drug violations and 367 alcohol violations were reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. From January 6, 2020, to January 6, 2021, over half of the total positive drug tests (80,098) involved Marijuana Metabolite (42,534). At that rate, there will be more marijuana violations during 2021 than in 2020. Although it may not be illegal to use marijuana, it is no less unsafe to drive under its influence.

ClearStar and Drug Testing

When it comes to making sure your employees are FMCSA/DOT-compliant, ClearStar uses all of our resources to check on them. During pre-employment, ClearStar has full DOT support—including access to the Clearinghouse database—and a web-based management system that assists with carrying out a potential employee’s background check. With our resources, not only can we perform extensive background checks on potential employees, but we can also alert an employer of any past DOT violations, DUIs, and drug/alcohol test results.

Again, we have the largest drug test collection site network, with 9,000+ locations nationally, and offer extensive drug tests, vaccinations, titers, physicals, and other services. We work with Abbott, LabCorp, and Quest to provide the best drug testing services and a mobile wallet pass with built-in reminders for LabCorp and Quest. For the peace of mind of employers, we offer real-time collection status updates for drug tests to ensure they know exactly what the status is on a drug test.

To place an order for a COVID-19 test or a drug test, contact the ClearStar Medical Information Services office at 321.821.3383 or [email protected] To ask about background checks and other medical screening services, call +1.888.982.4648. To read more about our transportation services, visit https://www.clearstar.net/transportation/.

1 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving

 

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