The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced December 13 it will maintain its current 25 percent random drug testing rate of truck operators in 2017, meaning carriers will be required to randomly test 25 percent of their drivers in the calendar year. This includes owner-operators leased to carriers.
FMCSA requires trucking and bus companies to conduct random drug and alcohol tests at the nationally prescribed percentage.
For 2016, FMCSA lowered the minimum required drug testing rate from 50 percent to 25 percent. The lower rate stemmed from three consecutive calendar years (2011, 2012, 2013) of drug testing data received in FMCSA’s Management Information System survey showing the positive rate for controlled substances was less than one percent.
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According to federal regulations, when the data received in the MIS for two consecutive calendar years indicates that the positive rate for controlled substances is less than one percent, FMCSA has the discretion to lower the annual testing rate to a minimum of 25 percent of a carriers’ driver positions. If, however, at any time the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds one percent, the testing rate will automatically revert back to 50 percent.
For 2014, the most recent survey data available, the estimated positive usage rate for drugs in was 0.9 percent. For 2012 and 2013, the estimated positive usage rate for drugs was estimated to be 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
The estimated violation rate for alcohol usage (the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or higher) in 2014 was 0.08 percent. For 2012 and 2013, the alcohol usage violation rates were 0.03 percent and 0.09 percent, respectively.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.