Random drug testing rate remains at 25 percent, for now
By: Daren Hansen
Publication: Transportation Regulatory Alert
Date Posted: 02/16/2017
The random drug testing rate for commercial motor vehicle drivers will remain at 25 percent for 2017, but recent data suggests a future increase.
The announcement comes just one year after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dropped the mandatory random drug testing rate from 50 percent to 25 percent for 2016. It was the first change in the rate in more than 20 years.
The FMCSA was able to make that change because the drug usage rate among commercial drivers was estimated to be below one percent for at least two consecutive years, in 2012 (0.6%) and 2013 (0.7%).
By regulation (Sec. 382.305), the FMCSA will be forced to raise the rate back to 50 percent if industry-wide data shows that the drug usage rate has risen to one percent or more in any single year.
Just-released testing data for 2014 shows a positive rate barely below that threshold, at 0.9 percent.
“We will continue to monitor the data closely, and should the positive rate for drug use rise above the one percent threshold in the upcoming 2015 survey, the national random testing rate requirement will be immediately increased to 50 percent,” said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling.
The last time the usage rate was at one percent or higher was 2010. The rate in 2011 was 0.9 percent.
The FMCSA could have reduced the testing rate for 2015 but chose to wait another year, to make sure it had reliable data.
The random alcohol testing rate remains unchanged at 10 percent.
Drug testing data is collected each year from a sampling of motor carriers.
This article was featured in the Transportation Regulatory Alert newsletter.
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