Thanks to results of random drug and alcohol testing among commercial drivers showing positive results less than one percent of the time, federal safety regulators have decided to keep the random testing rate at 25 percent of a motor carrier’s commercially licensed drivers in 2017.
Regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require truck and bus companies employing drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to conduct random drug and alcohol tests upon those employees at a nationally prescribed percentage, which is informed by the results of an annual survey.
For calendar year 2016, FMCSA lowered the minimum annual drug testing rate from 50 percent to 25 percent following three consecutive calendar years (2011, 2012, 2013) of drug testing data indicating the positive rate for controlled substances was less than one percent. FMCSA conducts an annual Management Information Survey (MIS) to ensure compliance among motor carriers with the set testing rates.
According to federal rules, when the data received in the MIS for two consecutive calendar years indicates the positive rate for is less than one percent, the FMCSA Administrator may lower the annual testing rate to a minimum of 25 percent of a carriers’ driver positions. But if the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds one percent, the testing rate automatically reverts to 50 percent.
“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,” FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling said in a statement. “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.”
FMCSA’s 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 (i.e., pre-employment, post-crash, and reasonable suspicion/follow-up) testing. In 2014, FMCSA required carriers to randomly test 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs and 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol.