For 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is cutting in half the number of random drug tests commercial vehicle fleets are required to conduct.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lowered to 25 percent its minimum rate for random controlled substances (drug) testing. The minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing remains at 10 percent. FMCSA has the option to increase or decrease random testing rates based on annual results within the industry.

The FMCSA drug testing requirements were reduced for 2016 after positive random tests for controlled substances fell below 1 percent for three consecutive years from 2011 through 2013. If the positive rate equals or surpasses 1 percent going forward, the agency will re-establish its 50 percent testing requirement.

If you are regulated under intrastate rules it is important that you check to see if your state made those same changes or has different FMCSA drug testing requirements.

It is highly recommended that:

  1. Commercial fleet operators keep their random testing percentages in a reasonable proximity (but always above) the required minimum testing percentages mandated by the Federal or State DOT. If you have thoughts about keeping testing rates at or close to the previous requirements, we suggest that you discuss the program with your legal counsel.
  2. Have a discussion with your substance abuse testing administrator and/or MRO about testing levels to ensure that the changes have been implemented.
  3. Educate CDL drivers on the changes and why they occurred. The reality is that commercial truck drivers have a lower rate of driving while impaired than the general motoring public and take their responsibilities very seriously.

HUB Transportation advisors help keep you up-to-date on changes to FMCSA regulations. Also read more about FMCSA driver coercion and penalties and how this could affect your business.

Steven Bojan, Vice President -  HUB International's Fleet Risk Services, advises on commercial truck insurance, fleet safety, driver and management best practices and regulatory compliance.