The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that random testing for controlled substances would remain at a rate of 50% in 2015.
The decision to maintain the current rate was based on data from motor carrier industry lab results, the 2012 drug and alcohol testing survey and additional investigations. The data from these sources gave the FMCSA information about positive test rates, testing totals, what types of substances caused violations and other related results.
These investigations found that positive test rates following an initial positive result increased by 4.1% from 2011 to 2012. Reasonable suspicion positive test rates had a five-fold increase from 2010 to 2012.
The rate of total positive drug test results reported to the Department of Transportation from certified laboratories increased from 95,427 positives in 2011 to 97,332 positives in 2012. FMCSA regulated industries make up about 80% of those reported tests.
There were also more recent compliance investigations which found serious controlled substance and alcohol testing violations in 24% of its results. A two week strike force in 2014 resulted in 205 driver enforcement cases and 138 enforcement cases against carriers for substance violations. These numbers included drivers operating passenger carrying vehicles and transporting hazardous materials.
Despite these increases, the FMCSA’s 2012 Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey indicated that positive results from random tests have actually decreased for the second year. About 2,000 carriers participated in that survey.
The FMCSA says it will continue to monitor industry testing programs before re-evaluating the controlled substances random test rate again in 2016.