Your driver calls. He was in an accident in Pennsylvania. He is being taken for a drug and alcohol test.
A number of thoughts race through your mind. Are they taking him for a DOT required test because of a death or a citation with treatment away from the scene or towing? No, the driver assures you. He is not being cited.
You then assume there must be a reason that leads the officer to think drugs or alcohol is involved-odor of breath, eyes, gait, speech, actions, something. Again, your driver assures you that he is clean.
You remain understandably skeptical. But it may not be warranted.
Pennsylvania law provides that a police officer investigating an accident involving a motor carrier vehicle pursuant to a required investigation “shall request that the driver of the vehicle submit to testing for alcohol and controlled substances.” 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3756(a). The costs of the test must be paid by the driver’s employer. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3756(a).
A driver who refuses commits a summary offense. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3756(b). They can be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $200. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3756(b).
This is not to be confused with the “implied consent” testing of commercial drivers. 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1613(a). This section provides that upon driving a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania, a commercial driver “is deemed to have given consent” for a drug or alcohol test. 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1613(a).
That section requires that such testing may be administered by police officer’s finding of “reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was driving a commercial motor vehicle while having any alcohol in his system.” 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1613(b). The commercial driver’s refusal to submit to testing will result in the loss of his commercial license for at least one year. 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1611.
In contrast, Section 3756 is basically an “investigate-an-accident-require-a-test” law. There is no requirement in the law for “reasonable grounds” or “probable cause”. That may be a problem for its ultimate enforcement.
If your driver is sent for Section 3756 testing, 9 chances out of 10 it will be by a local police department. There are many in law enforcement who question the application of a law that provides for such testing without a requirement of “probable cause”.
Whatever its ultimate Constitutional outcome, we want you to be aware of the law. When your driver calls from a Pennsylvania accident, you will know that the requirement of a test may be just that and nothing more.