CVSA 2024 part 1

The focus of this year’s annual CVSA safety blitz, scheduled from May 14-16 should make be extremely easy to pass. The focus this year is on substance abuse and the proper operation of the tractor protection system. Passing the substance abuse criteria shouldn’t be a problem at all, but every year we read about impaired truck drivers. In many cases, it’s accidental. For this reason, we recommend the “24 hours, bottle to throttle”, meaning no alcohol for at least 24 hours before getting behind the wheel.

Other intoxicants, however, can make it far more difficult to self-determine intoxication, and in some cases, trace amounts can be detected long after they were last consumed. Cannabis, for example, is fat-soluble and can be detected by a drug test up to 6 weeks after use. By that time, the effects will have long since passed, but the active ingredient is still in your system and when tested, you will fail the drug screen. How long other intoxicants remain in your system depends a lot on how often you consume them and when they were last consumed. Evidence of cocaine use can be flushed out of your system in as little as a day, or remain detectable for over a month.

There are even some intoxicants that you ingest not even knowing you’re ingesting them. One is the active ingredients is over-the-counter pain medication. In particular, codeine. In addition to over-the-counter medication, some doctor-prescribed medications also contain ingredients that will cause a positive drug test, and just because you’re using certain prescribed medications that cause the positive test results, you are still disqualified from driving a CMV. So before taking any new medications, whether OTC or prescription, consult with your doctor as to whether or not they could show up on a drug test.

This one will come as a bit of a shocker, but even what you eat can cause a false positive drug test. If you consume too many poppy seed bagels, don’t be surprised if you test positive for heroin use. Heroin is derived from poppy seeds, so depending on how sensitive the test is, and how many poppy seeds you’ve ingested, the test could come back positive.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.