CMV Drivers Barred From Using Schedule I Drugs

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revised three rules for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to clarify that CMV drivers may not use Schedule I drugs and be qualified to drive CMVs. These
become effective on February 29, 2012.

The purpose of the changes are to clarify perceived inconsistencies in the FMCSA’s regulations, not to impose new standards on drivers.

The revisions are:

  1. Prohibition on the Use of Schedule I Drugs. The minimum physical qualifications for CMV drivers are amended to clarify that the use of Schedule I drugs is prohibited under all circumstances. 49 CFR §§ 382.213; 391.41. The prior rule permitted certain prescribed substances but did not specifically bar Schedule I drugs. FMCSA’s regulations continue to permit the use of non-Schedule I drugs under limited circumstances, when prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner.
  2. Prohibition on the Refusal of Pre-Employment Drug Tests. Drivers who refuse to submit to pre-employment and return-to-duty tests will now be subject to the same referral, evaluation, and treatment steps that are required after refusing other types of tests, such as post accident or random testing. 49 CFR § 382.211.
  3. Clarification of the ‘Knowledge’ Regarding Drug Use. FMCSA replaces the term ‘‘actual knowledge’’ with ‘‘knowledge’’ to clarify that the prohibition refers to the knowledge of test results, not just to an employer’s observation of prohibited drug conduct. 49 CFR §§ 382.201; 382.215.

Schedule I drugs are drugs that have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and are substances with a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. Schedule I drugs include drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. 21 CFR § 1308.11.

Learning More
Employers should revise their workplace drug policy to comply with the rule. Read more about the FMCSA
regulations and the new rule
.

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