Drug Testing Term Paper


¶ … drug and alcohol testing for commercial truck drivers. Specifically, it will discuss the merits of testing, and why it is a necessity for public safety. Drug testing of all employees has come under fire in recent years for a wide variety of reasons - however, drug testing for those employees who carry a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), is mandated by the Federal Government, and this is imperative for public safety on America's roads and highways. Drug and Alcohol Testing for Commercial Truck Drivers

Drug and alcohol testing has come under fire from many groups, from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who feel it violates any employee's rights, to groups who advocate testing should be increased, rather than decreased. One area of drug and alcohol testing that has stood up to opposition is the testing of commercial truck drivers. The Federal Government began requiring mandatory drug testing of drivers beginning in 1995, (depending on the size of the company - smaller companies had until 1996 to begin testing). Anyone who applies for a CDL license must successfully complete a substance abuse test before the license is issued, and these tests must be repeated throughout their employment, as this white paper on the testing states:

Companies are to randomly test drivers at a minimum annual percentage rate of 25% of the number of drivers for each selection period for alcohol testing, and 50% for controlled substances testing. The random alcohol test must be performed immediately prior, during or immediately after a driver is about to, or has performed a safety sensitive function as defined in Section 395.2. All drivers must have an equal chance of being selected" (Staff, 1994).


This is a good idea for a number of common sense reasons. First, allowing someone who is impaired in any way to drive an oversized vehicle is simply asking for trouble. This is the reason driver testing came into being in the first place - to make sure those who wanted to operate a motor vehicle were capable. For example, if you must wear corrective lenses to see when you drive, it is noted on your driver's license, and this simply makes sense. We would not want someone who could not see the cars in front of them driving a Volkswagen any more than we would want someone drunk driving a tractor trailer rig. Therefore, making drug and alcohol testing mandatory for anyone receiving a CDL license is simply common sense.
Other merits of the policy are clearly seen when we think of many other situations when a driver is responsible for the safety of others, as in a school or tour bus driver. Often, these drivers must undergo physical examinations for heart disease and other diseases that could suddenly affect them on the job, and this holds true for substance abuse testing as well. No one wants to be a passenger on a vehicle where the driver is impaired in any way, and substance testing is one way to ensure the safety of the passengers as well as the safety of other vehicles sharing the road.

Obviously, one of the most important issues facing successful testing is the validity of the results, as this situation with a bus driver who was suspended because his urinalysis showed marijuana in his system clearly indicates. "News of his suspension and the test results spread to the bus driver's family, co-workers, and acquaintances. Two weeks after…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Ammerman, R.T. (1999). Prevention and societal impact of drug and alcohol abuse. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Angarola, R.T. (1991). Substance-Abuse Testing in the Workplace: Legal Issues and Corporate Responses. In Drug Testing: Issues and Options, Coombs, R.H., & West, L.J. (Eds.) (pp. 155-182). New York: Oxford University Press.

Editors. (July 1994). Alcohol and Drug Testing - Part 382. Retrieved from the Underride Network Truck Safety Web Site: http://www.underridenetwork.org/pihs382.pdf21 Nov. 2003.

Gant, R.E. (1991, Spring). The impact of the trucking industry in Tennessee. Business Perspectives, 4, 1+.

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