Safety & Compliance

FMCSA Keeps Controlled Substance Random Testing Rate

December 13, 2016

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that the controlled substances random testing rate for regulated motor carriers will remain at 25% for 2017.

In 2016, FMCSA lowered the minimum annual drug testing rate from 50% to 25% following three straight years (2011, 2012, 2013) of drug testing data that indicated that the positive rate for controlled substances was less than 1%. Federal regulations allow the agency to lower testing rates when positive rates are under 1% for two consecutive years.

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

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 testing. In 2014, FCMSA required carriers to randomly test 50% of their CDL drivers for drugs and 10% for alcohol.

According to the survey, for random drug and alcohol testing conducted in 2014 (the most recent data available):

  • The estimated positive usage rate for drugs in 2014 was 0.9%.  For 2012 and 2013, the estimated positive usage rate for drugs was estimated to be 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively.
  • The estimated violation rate for alcohol usage (the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 or higher) in 2014 was 0.08%.  For 2012 and 2013, the alcohol usage violation rates were 0.03% and 0.09%, respectively.

“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 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.”

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