In a surprisingly good move, the FMCSA, for the first ever to my recollection, announced last month that motor carriers may drug test at a 25% rate in 2016, instead of the 50% we have always used. This provision has always been in the rule, except it has never been used. If the positive rate for the industry is below a certain level, then the FMCSA may allow the industry to test at the reduced rate. Apparently, the ATA convinced the FMCSA there really arenâ€™t that many drivers testing positive for drugs.
Basically, what this means is you only have to do half as many drug tests as have been done previously. I have always thought that truck drivers are drug tested as much as, if not more, than any other profession, including airline pilots, baseball players, astronauts, and politicians. It is about time the FMCSA reduced the frequency of these tests.
It has always been critical that you conduct enough random drug and alcohol tests. If you are short on your random testing, the penalties often run between $10,000 and $20,000, for a few missed tests. Itâ€™s crazy. I have always argued when defending clients in this situation that testing at a 40% rate is a perfectly safe and prudent testing rate, which does not compromise highway safety in the least. After 13 years, the FMCSA finally agreed.