- Published: Apr, 16 2020
- Updated: Apr, 16 2020
Driving is a common activity in America. While many people get a license, professional driving goes far beyond the requirements for ordinary automobile owners. At the professional level, drivers and the companies they work for answer to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and have a stricter set of laws and regulations to adhere to.
A large part of this is the extra responsibility that professional drivers have. They do not use vehicles solely to get to work—operating the vehicle is work. Their job may involve transporting passengers across the country on a plane or taking life-saving ventilators to a hospital during the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, there’s an extra level of precaution for professional drivers, and that means a need for people with drug and alcohol collection training.
Sobriety Is Important
It’s already against the law for any American to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doing so and getting caught by the police often result in criminal charges, with a hefty fine or even jail time as punishment.
For professional vehicle operation, there’s a lot on the line when a road accident occurs. A typical 18-wheeler Mack truck, for example, will always “win” any road confrontation due to its sheer size and mass. The freight further exacerbates the damage such vehicles are capable of causing. And if the cargo is volatile, such as flammable fuel, the injury and loss of life are orders of magnitude higher than a vehicle driven by a drunken person colliding with another vehicle.
Testing Is Mandatory
This is why, unlike private citizens, professional vehicle operators are subject to random and periodic testing by the different organizations that make up the DOT. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has its own set of rules for the professional trucking industry. In contrast, the Federal Aviation Administration has different guidelines for pilots.
What doesn’t change from one organization to the next is mandatory testing. When passengers or critical freight are in the picture, there is an extra layer of legal, financial, and professional responsibility. Failure to remain sober for professional vehicle operators has severe consequences for everyone involved if something goes wrong. Because of this, drug and alcohol testing are issued as matters of professional requirement.
It Takes Skilled Personnel To Conduct Mandatory Testing
Drug and alcohol testing, however, isn’t something that can be done by the drivers themselves or even their employers. Professional testers are required both to administer tests correctly and ensure impartiality and objectivity. A company may have vested, unethical interests in falsifying results, so a neutral third party provides the most accurate results.
This is why drug and alcohol collection training continues to be required for testers on the field. The ability to efficiently and accurately get test samples and results can mean the difference between cargo getting to its destination and a tragic road accident due to someone’s substance-impaired driving.
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