FMCSA Holds Random Testing Rate at 25 Percent for 2017 (OH&S)

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced that the controlled substances random testing rate for regulated motor carriers will remain at 25 percent for calendar year 2017.

FMCSA regulations require that truck and bus companies that employ commercial driver’s licensed (CDL) drivers conduct random drug and alcohol tests among those individuals at a nationally prescribed percentage based on the results of an annual survey.


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“For the safety of everyone traveling on our highways and roads, no driver should ever get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. “Commercial motor vehicle companies must comply with the crucial safety responsibility of conducting rigorous drug and alcohol testing programs for all of their CDL drivers.”

For calendar year 2016, FMCSA lowered the minimum annual drug testing rate from 50 percent to 25 percent following three consecutive years (2011, 2012, 2013) of drug testing data received in the Management Information System survey that indicated the positive rate for controlled substances was below 1 percent. Federal regulations allow the FMCSA administrator to reduce the annual testing rate to a minimum of 25 percent of a carrier’s driver positions when that occurs; however, if the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds 1 percent, the testing rate rises to 50 percent.

“We will continue to monitor the data closely and, should the positive rate for drug use rise above the 1 percent threshold in the upcoming 2015 survey, the national random testing rate requirement will be immediately increased to 50 percent,” Darling added.

The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey measures the percentage of CDL drivers who test positive for drugs and/or alcohol, as a result of random and non-random (pre-employment, post-crash, and reasonable suspicion/follow-up) testing. During 2014, FMCSA required carriers to randomly test 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs and 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol. According to the survey, for random drug and alcohol testing conducted in 2014, the estimated positive usage rate for drugs was 0.9 percent and the estimated positive rate for alcohol (the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or higher) was 0.08 percent.

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