FMCSA Announces 2017 Testing Rate for Controlled Substances

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established regulations for how often business must perform random drug and alcohol tests on their commercially licensed drivers. FMCSA bases the frequency of this national rate on an annual survey. For 2017, the rate will remain the same as 2016 at 25 percent.

The year 2016 marked a notable decrease in testing frequency from 50 percent to 25 percent. FMCSA made this decision after looking at multiple years’ worth of data, which showed the rate of positive test results was less than 1 percent. If two consecutive years show that less than 1 percent of tested drivers produced positive results, federal regulations allow the FMCSA Administrator to lower the annual testing rate.

However, 25 percent is the minimum testing rate. In addition, if the positive drug and alcohol tests exceed 1 percent at any time the rate automatically increases to 50 percent. This means the rate could increase back to 50 percent immediately if a review of the 2015 survey shows a drug or alcohol usage rate greater than 1 percent. The most recent survey results showed:

  • The violation rate for drugs was 0.9 percent in 2014, 0.7 percent in 2013, and 0.6 percent in 2012
  • The violation rate for alcohol (which is having a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or higher) was 0.08 percent in 2014, 0.09 percent in 2013, and 0.03 percent in 2012

Random testing is important for a number of reasons. For example, not complying with this federal regulation can result in fines, increased insurance rates, and more. In addition, testing for controlled substances improves fleet and highway safety. To learn how complying with federal regulations reduces your fleet’s transportation risk, contact the experts at Three Points Insurance.