The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has announced it will lower the 2016 minimum random drug testing rate for commercial driver’s license holders to 25% from 50% annually. This significant announcement is the result, in large part, of ATA’s advocacy efforts. ATA met with FMCSA on this issue early last year, helped gather relevant data, and encouraged FMCSA to take the appropriate step of reducing the testing burden if the industry’s performance continued to meet the agency’s standard. DOT has previously lowered the testing rates for others modes and acknowledged a 25% rate continues to provides strong deterrence from drug use.
Under a long-standing provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, FMCSA may lower the minimum annual percentage rates for random testing to 25% percent when the industry violation rate (as measured by number of positive tests) for random drug tests is less than 1.0% for two consecutive years. The trucking industry has maintained a sub-1.0% violation rate for three consecutive years. The announcement is an important step that will immediately reduce regulatory and cost burdens for motor carriers. Carriers may, however, continue to test at a rate higher than 25% in 2016 if they so choose.