49 CFR Part 382

Drug and alcohol regulations are the most critical and most common commercial driver violations issued by the FMCSA. Below we have simplified the drug and alcohol regulations the FMCSA requires when creating and maintaining a drug and alcohol program. All trucking companies that operate with commercial driver license holders must have a drug and alcohol testing program in place.

All positive drug and alcohol tests taken under a DOT regulation must be reported to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Check with your provider (Drug and Alcohol Consortium) to confirm reporting procedures.

These procedures must be followed to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations for drug and alcohol compliance.

This program must include:

  • Pre-Employment Testing
  • Random Drug and Alcohol Testing
  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing
  • Post-Accident Testing

Pre-Employment Testing

All commercial driver’s license holders (CDL) holders must have pre-employment drug testing, and the company must have negative drug test results back before a driver operates a commercial motor vehicle (safety-sensitive function).

  • All commercial driver license holders must register for the drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
  • All motor carriers must query the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for every CDL driver they hire.
  • Signing up for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is easy and required.  You can purchase queries with a credit card.  
  • All motor carriers must conduct an annual query for all drivers from the Clearinghouse.

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

All trucking companies with commercial driver license (CDL) holders must belong to a drug and alcohol random program.

The following procedures must be adhered to follow FMCSR’s.

  • All drivers that hold a CDL must be entered into the program within 30 days of starting work with the employer or contractor.
    • All drivers must be enrolled in a random testing program. The provider of this program may pull names monthly or quarterly depending on the motor carriers’ preference. 
    • Fleets can have their in-house drug and alcohol random program, though 4 CMV Fleet does not recommend it.
    • All drivers selected for a random drug or alcohol test must proceed immediately to the collection site.
    • All trucking companies must select at least 25% of their drivers for drug testing and 10% of their drivers for alcohol testing. (These are the requirements for 2021 and can change annually)
    • All fleets should review their percentages in November of the current year. If the motor carrier is not meeting the required ratios, the motor carrier must have their consortium (drug and alcohol random program provider) provide more drivers’ names for testing. 
    • Drug and alcohol providers are not always reliable; it is critical to review your percentages in November of every year for compliance.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

All fleets must conduct reasonable suspicion testing on their commercial driver license holders. When sending a CDL holder for a reasonable suspicion test, the following must apply.

  • The reasonable suspicion must be observed and documented by a trained employee of the company.  
  • The trained employee must have had DOT required supervisors reasonable suspicion training.
  • The trained employee must be able to articulate in writing what they observed. Observation must include documented. Comments should consist of word slurring, odor, observed usage, behavior indicating intoxication, or drug usage.  
  • The motor carrier should retain the documentation.
  • The driver must be taken to the testing site and may not drive until test results return. 
  • Shippers, receivers, others outside the company cannot request a reasonable suspicion testing of a driver.
  • Use a drug-free workplace policy to conduct testing if the standard of DOT required testing does not apply.

Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing

All motor carriers must conduct post-accident drug and alcohol testing if an accident meets one of the following criteria:

Your CDL driver receives a citation, and a vehicle is towed.


Your CDL driver receives a citation, and or someone is taken away from the scene via an ambulance.


A fatality occurs.

  • Alcohol testing is required within eight (8) hours after the accident.
  • Drug testing within 32 hours after the accident. 
  • When a CDL driver is in an accident but cannot submit to drug and alcohol post-accident testing within the first two hours after the accident, the motor carrier must document why. The motor carrier s required to continue recording every two hours after that if testing is not completed.
    • How to document? Documentation should include Driver – Date and time – Type of test required (alcohol or drug) – Why it has not happened yet.  
  • A motor carrier may not test under the DOT chain of custody for any other reason than DOT regulations outline. 
  • A motor carrier requires an employee to drug or alcohol test under the drug-free workplace policy if the DOT regulation perimeter does not apply.