As more states legalize or decriminalize the use of marijuana, commercial fleet operators around the country are increasing their reasonable suspicion training to deal with the risk of drivers driving under the influence of the drug, experts say. [19659002TrettiosexstaterochWashingtonDCharlegaliseratmarijuanainågonformDetförblirdockfederaltolagligtochomfattasavtestkravföramerikanskatransportdepartementetförkommersiellakörkortinnehavareMarijuanaärdenfrämstaorsakentilllicensavstängningarblandCDL-holders According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration & # 39; s Drug and Alcohol Clearing House – that began collecting data on CDL license holder's positive drug tests from January 6, 2020 ̵
The Clearing House requires CDL drivers and their employers to report positive drug tests and look back at least three years to identify drivers who are prohibited from driving a commercial motor vehicle due to a drug or alcohol offense.
"It is the driver's cognitive function that we are most concerned about," said Ryan Pietzsch, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based Programming Consultant for Driver Safety at the National Safety Council. "When you talk about commercial vehicles, CDL drivers, these vehicles are over 26,000 pounds – these are big destroyers."
Many fleets "really reinforce their reasonable suspicion training for supervisors," said Darren Beard, Kansas City, Missouri-based senior loss control consultant at Lockton Cos. LLC.
While CDL regulations require fleet supervisors to receive 120 minutes of training on symptoms of alcohol or controlled substance use, more companies are stepping up their efforts with the goal of enabling supervisors to identify potential signs of disability both in person and through phone.
"It really is to deal with the risk – there's not much to find out if they smoked marijuana three weeks ago," Mr. Beard said, adding companies "focus on the write-down side of it to protect not only their responsibilities but the automotive industry."
Fleet employers are also increasing their training on marijuana and making sure drivers also understand that CBD, which is unregulated, can contain THC which can result in a positive drug test, he said.
The concern is different for fleets that do not require drivers to have CDL and are therefore not subject to the FMCSA Drug Testing Rules; Identifying marijuana use is even more important because of the prevalence of such use, said Mr. Beard.
“Many of our non-regulated fleet employers have to make tough decisions to either eliminate marijuana from their drug-free test programs. or eliminate drug testing altogether just to get candidates through the door, he said.
With the competitive employment environment today, more fleet operators are also focusing on giving workers access to an employee assistance program or drug addicts to retain good employees and mitigate risk, says Nina French, president of employer and law enforcement solutions at Oakland, California-based biotechnology company Inc., which has developed technology to detect marijuana deterioration.
Some create self-access policies that allow a driver to own up to a problem and seek help through the right channels without negative consequences.
"Not every employer necessarily rily had it in their program before, but at this time, with such a shortage of CDL drivers, people are watching it," Beard said.