Government Issues

FMCSA maintaining 50% random drug testing rates

Posted on December 31, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported the annual minimum random controlled substances testing rates for employees in safety sensitive positions, including bus and tractor-trailer drivers, will remain at 50% through 2015.

The agency’s decision to maintain the current testing rate was based on data from motor carrier industry controlled substance lab test results and the 2012 drug and alcohol testing survey, as well as additional investigations, which showed that:

  • Positive test rates following an initial positive result increased by 4.1% from 2011 to 2012.
  • Reasonable suspicion positive test rates continued to rise sharply from 5.6% in 2010, to 15.7% in 2011 and 37.2% in 2012, marking a five-fold increase over the three-year period.
  • The rate of total positive drug test results reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation from independent Health and Human Services-certified laboratories increased from 95,427 positives in 2011 to 97,332 positives in 2012. FMCSA-regulated industries comprise approximately 80% of the reported tests.
  • Serious controlled substance and alcohol testing violations were identified in 24% of recent compliance investigations.
  • A two-week 2014 Strike Force focusing on the identification of drivers who tested positive resulted in 205 driver enforcement cases, and 138 enforcement cases against carriers for violations relating to drivers with positive test results operating a commercial motor vehicle. These include drivers operating passenger carrying vehicles and transporting hazardous materials.

While results for FMCSA’s 2012 Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey of approximately 2,000 carriers indicate that positive random drug testing results have decreased for a second year, the agency is committed to seeking additional information related to driver test rates and will continue to monitor industry testing programs before re-evaluating the controlled substances random test rate for 2016.

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