FMCSA Announces Random Testing Enforcement Discretion due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Aware of continued operational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) recognizes that employers may face difficulties complying with certain testing requirements associated with 49 CFR Part 382.

In recognition of these compliance challenges, the FMCSA released a notice stating that they may exercise discretion in determining whether to enforce minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drug and alcohol. They may also use discretion when determining if random testing was paced reasonably enough throughout the calendar year.

Employers must continue to randomly select drivers at the required percentages during the calendar year which are as follows based on the average number of driver positions:

  • 50 percent for controlled substances
  • 10 percent for alcohol

If an employer is unable to complete random testing due to complications generated by the pandemic, they must document the reason testing was not completed. Additionally, if testing is not able to be reasonably spread out over the calendar year, the employer must document the specific reason why this requirement was not satisfied.

The purpose of this notice is to ensure that reasonable enforcement flexibility is afforded to those employers encountering pandemic related obstacles to achieving compliance without jeopardizing FMCSA's core safety mission principles. If an employer does not encounter any obstacles regarding random testing as a result of the pandemic, they are required to adhere to all established random testing compliance terms.

This notice should not be interpreted as a suspension of performing current random testing requirements. These motor carrier investigation enforcement discretions may continue to be exercised by the Agency into 2021.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation

Posted: July 15, 2020

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This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

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