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FMCSA Lowers Random Drug-testing Rate

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reduced the annual testing rate for the random controlled substances testing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for 2016. CMV drivers will now be randomly tested at a rate of 25 percent, instead of the previous rate of 50 percent. This reduction has no impact on the minimum alcohol testing rate for 2016, which remains at 10 percent.
The FMCSA can decrease the minimum annual testing rate if the reported positive test rate for the entire motor carrier industry is lower than 1 percent for at least two years. However, this time, the FMCSA decided to gather data for an additional year to confirm that the positive rate would remain below 1 percent:

  • 2011 positive rate: 0.9 percent
  • 2012 positive rate: 0.6 percent
  • 2013 positive rate: 0.7 percent

The reduced testing rate should save commercial motor carriers an estimated $50 million each year. However, the FMCSA also stated that it will raise the testing rate back up to 50 percent if the positive rate equals or exceeds 1 percent in a calendar year.
The testing rate for CMV drivers was established with the “Control Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing” rule in 2001. The regular testing rate of 50 percent is higher than the rate of other agencies in the Department of Transportation (DOT), all of which have a regular testing rate of 25 percent. Some experts in the CMV industry believe that the higher rate unfairly targets commercial drivers, and that the FMCSA should keep the regular testing rate at 25 percent.

For more information on rule changes in the motor carrier industry, contact the Horton Group today.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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