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Prescription Drugs


The regulations require an employer-based CSAT program. Employers are responsible to conduct a program intended to identify drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) who are using controlled substances, or alcohol while on duty, and immediately preclude them from operating a CMV.

This requirement includes an individual who is self-employed, commonly known as an owner-operator. The regulations require a urine sample testing for controlled substances, and breath testing for alcohol.


The regulations prescribe when testing is required:

  • Pre-employment testing

  • Post-accident testing

  • Random testing

  • Reasonable suspicion testing

  • Return-to-duty testing

  • Follow-up testing


The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is authorized by statute to conduct inspections of a carrier's CSAT program, and issue a safety compliance rating indicating the carrier's CSAT compliance. Since the CVC incorporates the federal regulations, the CHP uses the federal definitions and interpretations when determining a carrier's CSAT compliance. Inspections are to be conducted at the carrier's principal place of business.

THE PROHIBITIONS For the purpose of CSAT compliance, the term “controlled substances” includes: 

  • Marijuana metabolites

  • Cocaine metabolites

  • Amphetamines

  • Opiate metabolites

  • Phencyclidine (commonly referred to as PCP)

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