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Commercial Driver Random Testing Pool 25% Smaller in 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has lowered the minimum random controlled substances testing rate from 50 percent to 25 percent of the average number of commercial motor vehicle driver positions for calendar year 2016.

The change was made in response to three consecutive years of industry-wide random positive test rates below a 1 percent threshold. The FMCSA estimates fewer tests will save U.S. motor carriers $50 million a year.

The 25 percent random testing minimum corresponds with percentages applied to other U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies. The minimum random alcohol-testing rate remains at 10 percent.

Applicability

Under FMCSA rules, random testing applies to the commercial motor carrier industry, Consortium/Third Party Administrators (C/TPAs) and employees who are required have a commercial driver’s license to operate:

  • a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 26,001 pounds.
  • a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of at least 26,001 pounds.
  • a bus, van or other vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • any size vehicle which requires hazardous material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 42 CFR, Part 73.

Operators and drivers are advised to check with their state transportation agency for any additional definitions of commercial motor vehicles in their jurisdiction.

Background

The FMCSA administrator has the discretion to decrease the random testing minimum based on reported positive random test rates in the motor carrier industry. The 25 percent minimum reflects positive rates below 1 percent from 2011-2013. Based on an industry survey, the estimated positive random controlled substance test rate in 2013 was 0.7 percent.

In accordance with 49 CFR, Part 382.305(e)(2) on Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing, the FMCSA administrator will raise the minimum random test rate to 50 percent of all driver positions if the reported positive rate for any calendar year is 1 percent or more.

Reference

Annual Random Controlled Substances Testing Percentage Rate for Calendar Year 2016, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration