Drug testing, AB5 and more on latest ‘Live From Exit 24’

September 23, 2021

Land Line Staff


The latest episode of “Live From Exit 24” saw OOIDA’s experts tackle a potpourri of trucking topics.

Host Mike Matousek was joined by Dale Watkins, manager of OOIDA’s Business Services Department, and Amber Schweer, supervisor of OOIDA’s drug testing consortium, for the live broadcast on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Watch ‘Live From Exit 24’

Whether it’s helping drivers get permits or establish their own authority, broker issues or helping make sure a trucking business is in compliance, OOIDA’s Business Services Department covers a wide range of issues.

The show covered some of the hot topics that the Business Services Department is dealing with from members, as well as more information about drug and alcohol testing requirements.

“We take questions all day long on anything with trucking,” Watkins said.

Many of those questions involve how to stay in compliance with industry regulations, including drug testing.

Federal regulations require truckers who haul anything over 26,001 pounds, haul hazmat or haul more than 16 passengers, to be in a random drug testing program. OOIDA’s CMCI provides drug testing for over 16,000 enrollees.

With OOIDA’s program, enrollees can be called in twice a year.

“We put all of those drivers into one pool and just kind of jumble everyone up. And then just randomly select you,” Schweer said.

Schweer said one of the biggest misconceptions about drug and alcohol testing requirements involves the legalization of marijuana at the state level. She reminded drivers that, even if they live in a state that allows medical or recreational pot smoking, commercial drivers should not imbibe.

“Even if they have a prescription for it, it’s still illegal on the federal level, so you can’t do it,” she said. “And that includes CBD oils, which is a big no-no.”

More drivers seeking own authority

One trend that Watkins said has taken a jump in recent years has been the move by more drivers to get their own authority.

He said a variety of factors, including regulatory changes and healthy freight rates, have more company drivers weighing whether to go into business for themselves. He also said some drivers are reacting to the uncertainty caused by California’s AB5 worker classification law, and the PRO Act in Congress.

“The way (CSA 2010) came down on carriers, they had to run a tighter ship. They look at some of these big brokers like C.H. Robinson, they make some of the best profit in the industry. They don’t own any equipment … no liability,” he said. “Then in the last year, maybe two years we’re looking at AB5 stuff coming out of California, and then the possibility of the PRO Act. I just think all these things are snowballing right now.”

Guilty By Association Truck Show preview

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh also joined the program by phone from the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo. OOIDA plans to host a town hall with FMCSA on Friday.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff (at GBATS),” Pugh said. “It’s called a truck show, but it’s nothing like Louisville. There’s not a lot vendors or anything. It’s just trucks.”

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, Oct. 6.


“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL