FMCSA lowers random drug testing level to 25%

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced it will lower the random drug testing rate for controlled substances from the current 50 percent to 25 percent for the upcoming calendar year, effective Jan. 1, 2016. FMCSA conducts a random survey to ensure compliance with the set testing rates, known as the Management Information System (MIS) or MIS survey.

According to federal regulations, when the data received in the MIS for two consecutive calendar years indicate the positive rate for controlled substances is less than one percent, the FMCSA Administrator has the discretion to lower the minimum annual testing rate. While the MIS survey resulted in a positive rate of less than one percent for the 2011 and 2012 testing years, the acting administrator chose to maintain the 50 percent rate for another year. The 2013 testing year also showed a positive rate of less than one percent, so after three years, the acting administrator approved a lower testing rate.

If at any time the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds one percent, the testing rate will revert back to 50 percent. A copy of the announcement is available at the FMCSA website.

Note this does not change anything regarding the need for carriers to comply with the federal drug and alcohol testing regulation, nor will it change anything regarding MTAC’s drug and alcohol program administered by partner Gregory & Howe. Members participating in the drug and alcohol testing consortium will continue to be notified by Gregory & Howe when their drivers have been selected for a test. The only potential impact is that there is a possibility a company’s drivers will have a lesser chance of being selected for a random test.