We hear this question all of the time: “I failed my drug test. Now what?”
And it’s a question that we struggle to answer. There’s no magic solution. No easy fix that will put your career back on track. We hate to break the bad news, but your trucking career will probably never be the same after you fail a drug test.
The Hiring Freeze
The FMCSA does have procedures in place that will allow you to return to work after you fail a drug test, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to find a company that will hire you. Many major trucking companies will have no interest in hiring you, even if your failed drug test is years old. You may be able to find work in trucking, but it probably won’t be your dream job.
State Vs. Federal Law
There are states where marijuana use is legal, but federal rule supersedes state rule, so it is never permissible for truck drivers to partake in recreational drug use.
From the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR 382.213):
(a) No driver shall report for duty or remain on duty requiring the performance of safety sensitive functions when the driver uses any drug or substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I. (You can click here for a list of Schedule I drugs.)
(b) No driver shall report for duty or remain on duty requiring the performance of safety-sensitive functions when the driver uses any non-Schedule I drug or substance that is identified in the other Schedules in 21 CFR part 1308 except when the use is pursuant to the instructions of a licensed medical practitioner, as defined in § 382.107, who is familiar with the driver‘s medical history and has advised the driver that the substance will not adversely affect the driver‘s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.
The Safety Of Others
The most important reason to choose to drive drug-free has nothing to do with your CDL or your hiring prospects. It’s about your ability to look at yourself in the mirror. If you’re under the influence of drugs and you’re involved in a fatal crash, you’ll have to live with the fact that a person died at your hands for the rest of your life. Not to mention the fact that the legal ramifications are likely to be pretty severe.
Drugs or trucking. Not both. You make the call.