FMCSA lowers random drug testing rate

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced Monday, Dec. 21, that it will lower the random testing rate for controlled substances for drivers of commercial motor vehicles from 50 percent to 25 percent for 2016. The new policy takes effect Jan. 1.

Results from the past two years of Management Information System (MIS) surveys led to the FMCSA’s decision to randomly test fewer drivers. FMCSA conducts the MIS survey to ensure compliance with the set testing rates.

When the MIS survey shows that the rate for positive tests of controlled substances is less than 1 percent for two consecutive calendar years, federal regulations allow for the FMCSA administrator to lower the minimum annual testing rate.

The MIS survey resulted in a positive rate of less than 1 percent in 2011 and 2012, but the administrator declined to alter the percentage. Figures for 2013 again yielded less than 1 percent. Results of the 2014 MIS survey have not been released.

With three consecutive years of minimal positive tests, the administrator approved a lower random testing rate.

If at any time, the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds 1 percent, the testing rate will revert to 50 percent.

The FMCSA’s random drug testing rate of 25 percent is now consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.