US Drug Test Centers Blog/News

FMCSA DOT Requirements for Drug and Alcohol Programs

Posted: May 03 2017

By: Jane Schwab

As an agency within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the motor coach bus industry and the trucking industry in the US. Part 382 of the FMCSA regulations deals with controlled substances and alcohol use and testing. It's designed to help prevent injuries and accidents resulting from misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV).

Employers and employees subject to FMCSA Part 382 regulations include those with a commercial driver's license (CDL) operating the following CMVs:

  • Those with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more lbs
  • Those with the capacity to carry more than 16 passengers including the driver
  • Those of any size used to transport hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded

Employers (including owner-operators) who violate these regulations may be subject to a new entrant exam to verify compliance. The New Entrant will be monitored during the initial 18-month period or operation. As such, the FMCSA will conduct a safety audit on the New Entrant, monitor safety performance through roadside inspections before granting permanent authority, if safe.

The FMCSA program for misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances must be in compliance. A new entrant will automatically fail the Safety Audit violations related to:

  • No alcohol and/or drug testing program
  • No random alcohol and/or drug testing program
  • Using a driver who refused a required alcohol or drug test
  • Using a driver the company knows had a breath alcohol content of 0.04 or higher
  • Using a driver who failed to complete required follow-up procedures after testing positive for drugs

 US Drug Test Centers offers a full FMCSA compliance program.

  • A DOT-compliant written policy
  • Drug and alcohol testing with a medical review officer (MRO)
  • Access to a countrywide network of more than 20,000 collection sites
  • Pre-employment, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion testing
  • Random testing – stand-alone pool or consortium pool
  • Certificate of enrollment
  • Federal custody and control forms (CCF)
  • Employee education
  • Supervisor training
  • DER training
  • Post-accident support
  • Audit support
  • 24/7 emergency testing support
  • Assistance with record keeping
  • DOT required MIS reports
  • Online software platform with complete management of the testing program
  • All forms and paperwork needed for DOT compliance

US Drug Test Centers drug and alcohol testing program ensures you are compliant.

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Random Drug Testing

Companies are mandated by DOT regulations to establish a random testing program for drugs and alcohol. Based on the average number of driver positions, the FMCSA annual rate for alcohol testing must be 10% while drug testing must be 25%.

Selection for such testing must be using a scientifically valid method and must be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. The number of drivers to be tested may be calculated based on the total number of drivers in a consortium pool if the company conducts testing through a consortium. Owner-operators must be enrolled in a random testing consortium. FMCSA random testing consortium helps to easily manage the random testing process for compliance with FMCSA Part 382 regulations.

Random alcohol testing can and will only be performed on a driver who is on duty, just before or just after driving.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

When a driver has violated alcohol or drug use prohibitions contained in the regulations, the company may require a driver to submit to drug or alcohol testing. Such determination must be based on specific observations concerning the behavior, appearance, speech, and body odors of the driver.

As such, the company official responsible for making such a determination must receive at least 60 minutes of training on drug use and at least an additional 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse. The person determining the existence of reasonable suspicion must not conduct an alcohol test. Alcohol testing under reasonable suspicion is only authorized if the observations are made and the test is performed while the driver is still on duty, just before or just after driving.

US Drug Test Centers offers supervisor training programs that are critical to successful testing for reasonable suspicion. As such, supervisor training is a requirement of FMCSA DOT drug and alcohol program compliance.

Other FMCSA DOT Drug Testing Requirements

  • Pre-employment

Before allowing a CDL driver to operate a CMV, an employer must receive a negative drug test result.

  • Post-accident

According to the FMCSA criteria, drug and alcohol testing may be required after an accident.

  • Return-to-duty

This is required for drivers who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B. It is also required for those drivers who have completed the return-to-duty process with a substance abuse professional who is DOT-qualified. Such a test is directly observed and one is allowed to resume driving duties after a negative result is observed.

  • Follow-up

This test is required for drivers who tested positive, refused or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B. It is also required for those drivers who have completed the return-to-duty process with a substance abuse professional who is DOT-qualified. They must have also tested negative for a return-to-duty test. Such testing is prescribed by the professional for a minimum of six directly observed tests in 12 months which can be extended for an additional four years.

The following classes of drugs require lab testing for FMCSA DOT drug testing:

  • Marijuana
  • Opiates – codeine and opium derivatives
  • Cocaine
  • Phencyclidine – PCP
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines

If a driver fails a drug or alcohol test, their immediate removal from the safety-sensitive job function is required until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. One fails the testing if they get a positive drug test result, refuse to test, or register a 0.04 or greater alcohol content.

US Drug Test Centers serves all FMCSA-regulated markets for drug and alcohol testing programs. Clients for these programs include owner-operators, for-hire carriers, private fleets, small and large trucking companies, and bus companies. For immediate service or to set up an account, call US Drug Test Centers at 866-566-0261.


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