Drug Testing Made Easy For Every Driver
The tragic Kalamazoo, Mich., Uber driver shootings and the accompanying anger and sadness have refocused attention on the need for driver background checks. Those checks, however, don’t just need to cover the criminal; drugs and alcohol are just as vital a component, as proven by incidents in which a handful of Uber drivers have been found to be drunk or stoned.
The state of California, for example, requires that all commercial drivers follow Department of Transportation standards for drug testing. But Uber, on its website, classifies itself as “…a technology company that has developed an app that connects users (riders) with driver partners who provide transportation to the user. Uber is not a transportation carrier, and does not employ any drivers.”
Therefore, TNCs do not believe it is mandatory to adhere to the same laws as chauffeured transportation companies do, which have the best maintained cars, professional chauffeurs, commercial insurance, and duty-of-care responsibility.
Independent Drivers Consortium (IDC) CEO Ben Caswell and Founder and Chief Medical Director Dr. Marshall Zablen are working together to create an affordable drug testing program possible for chauffeurs as well as professional independent drivers. The two have developed a turn-key solution that not only makes this simple, but low cost as well.
The driver simply inputs the code number for their contractor or contractors, who will then receive the test results. The app contains locations for this driver to take tests, a copy of their program certificate, the expiration date of their program, and a copy of their most recent drug test.
An employer can choose to have Norton Medical (IDC’s parent company) select the drivers for random testing. Then, the company can see all the drivers that were selected randomly and send them whenever is most convenient. Drivers will receive text and voice call alerts telling them they were selected, and they can then find whichever testing location is closest to them via zip code search. With over 7,000 collection sites, it’s impossible for a driver to complain about testing being inconvenient.
Drivers are proud to be in a drug testing program because it means they are serious professionals. US DOT drug testing programs have been proven to work as shown by the significant improvement in professional truck drivers who are required to be tested for illegal substances, Zablen said. When random testing began in 1989, 18% of truck drivers had cocaine, amphetamines, or marijuana in their systems — that’s one in five drivers. Twenty-five years later, the rate of drug usage has fallen to less than one percent. You have to drive by 99 trucks to find a driver with drugs in their system. As a result, fatalities have fallen more than 80% for every one million miles driven.
“What really makes me angry is that [Uber drivers] continue to tell us they are professionals, yet they certainly aren’t acting as a professional driver should,” Caswell says. “Limousine drivers are professional and adhere to regulations. We are trying to make it easier and more convenient for them.”
Zablen adds, “Limousine companies that choose to use the app are provided with a logo graphic to add to their website and a decal for their vehicles to help differentiate them from competitors who don’t drug test.”
In addition, Caswell and Zablen are talking with several livery software companies to integrate the Norton back-end management solution into their systems so an owner can have fingertip access to MIS reports and the statistical analyses they need during DOT audits.
The IDC app allows chauffeurs to tout their commitment to safety to their corporate and repeat customers. Whether you absolutely loath TNCs or want to work with them, the main goal should be keeping drivers who are under the influence off the streets.
To preview the mobile interface, click here.