drug and alcohol testing for carriers

On December 26th, 2019, the FMCSA announced a substantial increase in the required rate of required random drug and alcohol testing for drivers. Over the course of 2020, any motor carrier that employs CDL drivers must randomly screen a full 50-percent of their driver workforce. That’s double the number of tests from previous years.

Why was the drug and alcohol testing rate increased?

In 2001, the final rule titled “Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing” established the random drug testing rate and process for increase or decrease based on each previous year’s results. The 2018 data produced a 1.0-percent random positive controlled substance rate among the United States population of CDL drivers, up from 0.8-percent in 2017. Under the system, the final rule requires the random test percentage rate increase based on that rise in positive results.

How does the drug and alcohol testing rate increase affect my company?

FMCSA requires motor carriers to submit random drug and alcohol screening data upon request. If selected, your company must submit complete and accurate reporting data in a timely manner. Failure to submit data as requested can result in civil penalties, including daily fines, until your company complies with the request.

Your 2020 screening program must randomly test at least 50-percent of your workforce throughout the year. This substantial increase over years past comes at a significant cost increase for carriers. By doubling the number of required drug and alcohol tests, the FMCSA estimates a $50 to 70 million increase in costs to the industry.

How can I protect my company?

Simply put, your controlled substance screening program must comply with the final rule. Be prepared to double your number of annual random drug screenings, and let your drivers know about the increase. If your company is selected to submit 2020 data, be sure to submit in a timely manner to avoid penalties.

Learn more: Read the full text of the FMCSA December briefing.

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