Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 7, 2010

Kentucky attorney Sanders says drivers of commercial vehicles must submit to drug testing as part of CDL requirements.

Drug testing is conducted of drivers of commercial vehicles requiring a CDL.   The testing is conducting by taking a driver’s urine specimen. The analysis is performed at laboratories certified and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

A list of DHHS approved laboratories is published monthly in the Federal Register. The driver provides a urine specimen in a location that affords privacy and the “collector” seals and labels the specimen, completes a chain of custody document, and prepares the specimen and accompanying paperwork for shipment to a drug-testing laboratory.

The specimen collection procedures and chain of custody ensure that the specimen’s security; proper identification and integrity are not compromised. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires that drug testing procedures for commercial motor vehicle drivers include split specimen procedures.

Each urine specimen is subdivided into two bottles labeled as a “primary” and a “split” specimen. Both bottles are sent to a laboratory. Only the primary specimen is opened and used for the urinalysis. The split specimen bottle remains sealed and is stored at the laboratory.

If the analysis of the primary specimen confirms the presence of illegal, controlled substances, the driver has 72 hours to request the split specimen be sent to another DHHS-certified laboratory for analysis. This split specimen procedure essentially provides the driver with an opportunity for a “second opinion”.

All urine specimens are analyzed for the following drugs:

  1. Marijuana (THC metabolite)
  2. Cocaine
  3. Amphetamines
  4. Opiates (including heroin)
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

The testing is a two-stage process. First, a screening test is performed. If it is positive for one or more of the drugs, then a confirmation test is performed for each identified drug using state-of-the-art gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis. GC/MS confirmation ensures that over-the-counter medications or preparations are not reported as positive results.


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