FMCSA increases random drug testing rate to 50%
Story by: John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent @ FreightWaves.com
Federal regulators surprised the trucking industry the day after Christmas by announcing an increase in the minimum annual rate for random drug testing from 25% to 50% of the average number of a carrier’s drivers.
The increase, made public by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in a federal notice on Dec. 26, begins on Jan. 1 and is in place for the 2020 calendar year. It was based on the results of 2018 FMCSA survey data revealing that the positive testing rate for controlled substances increased to 1%.
The agency estimates that by doubling the minimum random testing rate, the trucking industry will have to pay an additional $50 million to $70 million per year in drug testing costs.
“This data was collected in early 2019, and to my knowledge there has been no indication from FMCSA about the increase in positive tests that led to the minimum random testing rate change,” Dave Osiecki, president and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, told FreightWaves. “Not only is it a financial hit that no one was expecting, it’s disappointing to know that more drivers are testing positive for using drugs.”
Osiecki pointed out that there will be a slight productivity impact as well because the process of pulling the driver off the road and getting to a testing site takes up time that could be used for moving loads.
A decision by the FMCSA to increase or decrease the percentage rate for randomly testing drivers for controlled substances is based on the trucking industry’s overall positive random controlled substance test rate as reported to the FMCSA by the carriers.
“When the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing is 25%, and the data received under the reporting requirements for any calendar year indicate that the reported positive rate is equal to or greater than 1%, the FMCSA administrator will increase the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances to 50% for all driver positions,” according to the agency.
Read the full story HERE @ freightwaves.com
Source and credits: freightwaves.com /John Gallagher / iTrucker / Mario Pawlowski