For Members

Federal Highway Administration


The FHWA regulations (49 CFR Parts 382, 391, 392, 395) apply to every person who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate or intrastate commerce and who is subject to commercial drivers license (CDL) requirements. A CMV is a vehicle that:

An employee is performing a safety-sensitive function during any period in which he or she is actually performing, ready to perform, or immediately available to perform any of the on-duty functions listed below.


With regard to alcohol, no driver may:

With regard to controlled substances:

Required tests

Drivers must submit to a pre-employment test for controlled substances prior to the first time an employee performs a safety-sensitive function. (There is no longer a requirement for a pre-employment alcohol test.)

Drivers will be tested for alcohol and/or controlled substances use under the following circumstances:

Testing procedures 

Alcohol confirmation tests must be conducted by a breath alcohol technician (BAT) using an evidential breath testing (EBT) device. EBTs are devices approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and placed on NHTSA's "Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Measurement Devices" (CPL). Controlled substances tests must be conducted by urinalysis and be performed by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) certified laboratories.

Blood testing for alcohol or controlled substances is prohibited.

Mandatory consequences for drivers engaging in alcohol or controlled substances use conduct

Each driver who engages in prohibited conduct must be evaluated by a substance abuse professional who determines what assistance, if any, the employee needs in resolving problems associated with alcohol misuse and controlled substances use.

Before returning to duty requiring the performance of safety-sensitive function, the driver must undergo a return-to-duty alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02 if the conduct involved alcohol, or a controlled substances test with a verified negative result if the conduct involved a controlled substance.

No driver with an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater, but less than 0.04, may perform safety-sensitive functions until the start of the driver's next regularly scheduled duty period, but not less than 24 hours after administration of the test.

Employers are not required to discipline workers who violate the prohibitions against alcohol or controlled substances use. Nor are employers required to provide or pay for rehabilitation services. These issues are left to collective bargaining agreements, or employer policies for unrepresented workers.

Starting dates

These regulations became effective January 1, 1995 for large employers. The Highway Administration defines large employers as those with more than 50 safety-sensitive employees. Small employers must implement these regulations by January 1, 1996.