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DOT Doubles Down On Drug Testing

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) random controlled substances testing percentage rate will double for…

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) random controlled substances testing percentage rate will double for the 2020 calendar year. This will have a large impact on the transportation industry, so we broke it down to provide answers to some of the most important questions you might have. Click here to view the PDF version.

 

  • How much will it increase?

The minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing will increase from the current rate of 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50%.

  • When does the change go into effect?

This change is effective as of January 1, 2020 and applies to the 2020 calendar year.

  • Who does this apply to?

The new rate applies only to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This will not affect the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

  • Why is it changing?

The regulation change occurred in response to rising positive drug-testing rates. The FMCSA minimum percentage rate must increase when the reporting data for a calendar year reflects a positive rate of 1.0% or greater. In 2018, the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey reported a positive rate of 1.0%.

  • Did anything else change?

No. While the random controlled substance testing rates have changed, the annual random alcohol testing percentage will remain at 10%.

  • What does this mean for the industry?

By doubling the percentage of testing, this will also double the costs to perform the tests. The FMCSA estimates that it will cost the trucking industry between $50 million and $70 million in order to conduct additional tests. It is advised that carriers plan for the change to administrative costs.

  • How does anyone keep track of it all?

Beginning January 6, 2020, the FMCSA will open access to the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse – a secure online database with real-time information about CDL holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. These records include positive results, test refusals, and return-to-duty follow-up testing. See the factsheet here: https://bit.ly/2ZOGbA9.

  • Where can I learn more?

The percentage increase announcement from the Federal Register can be found here: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-28164. For the official DOT notice, click here: https://bit.ly/2QIMUYn.

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