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FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing

The Department of Transportation has strict guidelines when it comes to maintaining a drug-free workplace.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency in the United States Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry and motor coach bus industry in the U.S. CFR Part 382 of the FMCSA regulations deals with controlled substances and alcohol use and testing. The purpose of CFR Part 382 is to establish programs designed to help prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Employers and employees subject to the FMCSA CFR Part 382 regulations for drug and alcohol testing include those with a commercial driver’s license operating one or more of the following commercial motor vehicles (trucks or buses):

  • With a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds
  • With the capacity to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver)
  • Of any size that is used to transport hazardous materials which require the vehicle to be placarded

Employers including owner-operators who violate the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing program regulations may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Fines of up to $10,000.00 per occurrence may be administered.

New operators are subject to a new entrant exam to verify compliance. The new entrant will be monitored during the initial 18-month period of operation. The FMCSA will:

  • Conduct a safety audit on the new entrant
  • Monitor safety performance through roadside inspections
  • Grant permanent authority, if safe

It’s critically important that the program for misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances be in compliance. A new entrant will automatically fail the safety audit for 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 blood alcohol content of 0.04 or greater
  • Using a driver who failed to complete required follow-up procedures after testing positive for drugs

Drug and alcohol testing also includes random testing and reasonable suspicion testing

fmcsa dot regulated truck

The Types of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing

Random Drug Testing for FMCSA (382.305)

Random drug testing is an important component of your program. It’s critical to have a knowledgeable provider to assist so that you are in compliance. Employers can be held responsible for service agent errors and resulting civil penalty actions for noncompliance even if the issues are caused by your drug testing provider.

DOT regulations mandate that the company establish a random drug and alcohol testing program. The FMCSA annual rate for drug testing must be 25% and the rate for alcohol testing must be 10%, based on the average number of driver positions.

Selection must be made by a scientifically valid method and testing must be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. If the company conducts testing through a consortium, the number of drivers to be tested may be calculated based on the total number of drivers covered by the consortium.

Random alcohol testing shall only be conducted on a driver while on duty, just before driving, or just after driving.

Owner-operators must be enrolled in a random testing consortium. An FMCSA random testing consortium will help you easily manage the random testing process for compliance with regulations with CFR Part 382.305. Learn more about US Drug Test Centers' owner-operator random testing consortium.

Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing (382.307 and 382.603)

Reasonable suspicion drug testing for FMCSA is another necessity. The company may require a driver to submit to a drug or alcohol test when reasonable suspicion exists that the driver has violated the drug use or alcohol misuse prohibitions contained in the regulations. The determination must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors of the driver.

The company official who makes the determination that reasonable suspicion exists 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 who determines that reasonable suspicion exists must not conduct an alcohol test.

Alcohol testing for reasonable suspicion is authorized only if the observations are made and the test conducted while the driver is on duty, just before driving, or just after driving.

Our line supervisor training programs are critical to successful reasonable suspicion testing. Supervisor training is a requirement of an FMCSA DOT-compliant drug and alcohol program.

Other Testing Requirements

Other testing requirements for DOT FMCSA programs include:

  • Pre-employment – An employer must receive a negative drug test result before permitting a CDL driver to operate a CMV (§382.301)
  • Post-accident – Drug and alcohol tests may be required after crashes according to the FMCSA criteria (§382.303)
  • Return-to-duty – Required for drivers who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B; and who have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. This test is directly observed, and a negative result is required before resuming driving duties (§382.309 and §40.305)
  • Follow-up – Required for drivers who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B; and who have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional, and have tested negative for a return-to-duty test. This testing is prescribed by the substance abuse professional for a minimum of six directly observed tests in 12 months but can be extended an additional four years (§382.311 and §40.307)

FMCSA DOT drug testing requires laboratory testing (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F) for the following five classes of drugs:

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

Failing a Drug or Alcohol Test

A driver fails a drug or alcohol test by refusing to test, testing positive to a drug test, or registering a 0.04 or greater alcohol content. All of these results require the driver to be immediately removed from performing safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving CMVs) until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.

US Drug Test Centers serves all markets regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for drug and alcohol testing programs. Our clients include owner-operators, private fleets, for-hire carriers, large trucking companies, small trucking companies, and bus companies both large and small. Get in touch with us to request immediate service to set up an account.

fmcsa regulated truck

FMCSA Compliance Requirements — Who is Covered?

We are often asked what employees must be included in the FMCSA DOT drug and alcohol testing program. FMCSA guidance states any person who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle, as defined in §382.107, in intrastate or interstate commerce and is subject to the CDL requirement of 49 CFR part 383. The 382.107 definition is as follows:

Commercial motor vehicle means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the vehicle

  1. Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or
  2. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 or more pounds), whichever is greater; or
  3. Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  4. Is of any size and is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 5103(b)) and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F)

It's important to note that a person simply having a CDL license is not necessarily to be included in an FMCSA DOT drug and alcohol testing program; the individual must be operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined above.

FMCSA Required Training

49 CFR 382.603 is the applicable regulation requiring supervisors of commercial motor vehicle drivers who operate vehicles that require a commercial driver license to take 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of alcohol abuse and another 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of controlled substances use (120 minutes in total). The purpose of this training is to teach supervisors to identify circumstances and indicators that may create a reasonable suspicion that a driver is using or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, supporting the referral of an employee for testing. 

If you operate vehicles that require a CDL on the public roads and you have more than one employee in the company, you are required to get DOT Supervisor Training. Owner-operators are not subject to DOT supervisor training. However, owner-operators are still required to register with a consortium for DOT drug and alcohol testing.

truck driving on the highway

FMCSA regulated employers must provide to their drivers educational materials and policies and procedures regarding the FMCSA DOT regulations on drug use and alcohol use. FMCSA 382.61 lists the required content to be made available to drivers.

US Drug Test Centers offers a comprehensive program for compliance with the DOT FMCSA regulations. Policies and procedures are available for our customers. Training and education are available with computer-based online training.

US Drug Test Centers Can Help

US Drug Test Centers can help with FMCSA compliance for drug and alcohol testing programs. Our comprehensive programs include:

  • A DOT-compliant written policy
  • Drug and alcohol testing with a Medical Review Officer (MRO)
  • Access to a nationwide network of 20,000+ collection sites
  • Pre-employment, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion drug testing
  • Random testing – consortium pool or stand-alone pool
  • Certificate of Enrollment
  • Federal Custody & 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

When utilizing US Drug Test Centers for your drug and alcohol testing program, you can be confident that you are in compliance, and our team will assist you with your new entrant exam and any future audit of the drug and alcohol testing program.