As a truck driver, there are several requirements you need to meet in order to keep your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Regardless of whether you operate locally around where you live or long distances across the country, you have to follow regulations to make sure you’re keeping yourself and other people safe out on the road.
These regulations, set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, including local drivers, to be tested for drugs as part of their pre-employment screening process and at random intervals while employed.
Requirements For Local CDL Drivers
When it comes to driving a truck for a living, there are a number of different options available that could suit your goals. A local CDL driver is a commercial truck driver who operates within a specific geographic area, such as within a city or a surrounding region. They typically transport goods or materials from one location to another but do not drive long distances like long-haul CDL drivers.
These drivers may work for a variety of industries transporting goods, such as:
Another distinguishing characteristic of these drivers is that they can drive a variety of vehicles, like:
- Flatbed trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Refrigerated trucks
- Garbage trucks
Further, they are typically responsible for loading and unloading cargo. While they operate locally, these drivers have several requirements they have to meet to remain licensed and certified to operate their vehicles. These requirements include:
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) – Local truck drivers are typically required to hold a valid CDL, which is obtained by passing a written knowledge test and a driving skills test. The CDL must include any necessary endorsements, such as HazMat or tanker, depending on the type of cargo the driver will be transporting.
- Clean driving record – Employers will typically require a clean driving record, which generally means no major violations, such as DUIs, reckless driving, or multiple accidents.
- Experience – Many employers prefer or require a minimum amount of driving experience, usually around 1-2 years of commercial driving experience.
- Physical fitness – Local truck drivers must be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, climb in and out of the truck, and sit for extended periods of time.
- Attention to detail – Local truck drivers must be detail-oriented and able to follow directions and maintain accurate records, such as delivery logs and inventory.
- Customer service skills – Because they frequently interact with customers and businesses, many local truck driving jobs prefer a driver with strong customer service skills.
- Background check – Employers will typically conduct a background check, which may include a criminal history check and a drug test.
Overall, local CDL driving is a good option for those who prefer to be close to home and have a more predictable schedule. That said, maintaining your position requires you to follow federal regulations that are in place for every truck driver, including being drug tested.
What Are Federal Regulations Relating to Drug Tests For Local CDL Drivers?
As a commercial truck driver, you have to follow DOT and FMSCA regulations to remain licensed and continue operating your vehicle. These regulations are in place even if you operate locally within one particular state or area. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety of you have everyone else you share the road with, and include testing at the following intervals:
- Pre-employment – Before a driver is hired or begins driving for an employer, they must undergo a drug test.
- Random testing – Employers must conduct random drug and alcohol testing throughout the year. The DOT and FMCSA require that at least 50% of a company’s CDL drivers be tested for drugs annually, and 10% be tested for alcohol.
- Post-accident testing – After an accident involving a commercial vehicle, the driver(s) involved must undergo drug and alcohol testing, regardless of fault.
- Reasonable suspicion testing – If an employer has reason to believe that a driver is using drugs or alcohol, they may require the driver to undergo testing.
- Return-to-duty testing – If a driver tests positive for drugs or alcohol, they must undergo return-to-duty testing before they can resume driving.
These agencies also set specific procedures and protocols for conducting drug and alcohol testing, including:
- Testing process – The testing process must follow specific procedures, including chain of custody requirements to ensure the integrity of the testing process and to prevent tampering or adulteration of the specimen.
- Substance testing – A proper drug test screens for marijuana, cocaine, opiates (including heroin and prescription painkillers), amphetamines/methamphetamine, and phencyclidine (PCP). Alcohol tests must meet specific criteria, including a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02 or higher.
- Test results – Test results must be reported to the employer, and the employer is required to take specific actions based on the results, such as removing a driver from safety-sensitive duties if they test positive for drugs or alcohol.
- Chain of custody – The chain of custody requirements are designed to ensure the integrity and security of the testing process and to prevent tampering or contamination of the samples.
Overall, the consequences of a failed drug test or failure to follow any other federal regulations can have a serious impact on local CDL drivers and the companies they work for. Not only will it damage your reputation, but if you are using drugs or alcohol while driving, you are subject to the same legal consequences that any other driver would be. Thus, it’s important to work with your employer to make sure you comply with these regulations.
Drug Testing Solutions For Your Company
As a local CDL driver, staying drug and alcohol free is the easiest way to pass federally-regulated drug and alcohol tests. That said, there is still the issue of meeting other requirements set by these agencies, including following proper procedures and keeping accurate, up-to-date results. In order to meet these requirements, consider working with our team at Fleet Drug Testing. We have the experience and range of services you need to stay on top of regulations and keep things moving.
To get started, contact us here.