Earlier in July, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a notice regarding its plans for random drug and alcohol testing in 2020. According to FMCSA, it recognizes that covered motor carriers may not be able to comply with specific testing requirements due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“FMCSA may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol, and the requirement that each employer ensure the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year, as set forth in 49 CFR 382.305(b)(1) and (2) and 49 CFR 382.305(k), respectively. FMCSA emphasizes, however, that employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so,”From the July 6th, FMCSA notice
FMCSA also stated that carriers must continue to select drivers at the obligatory rate of 50% of their average number of drivers for drug testing and 10% for alcohol testing during the 2020 calendar year. In addition, the agency has noted that if a test is unable to be completed due to COVID-19, the carrier must collect written documentation of the specific reasons for this non-compliance. It is noted that carriers should also document actions taken to locate alternative testing sites or other testing resources. For example, employers will be required to document closure or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Further, employers are required to document specific actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources.
The agency also said that carriers who are unable to ensure the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are scheduled reasonably throughout the year should also document the specific reasons to justify failing to meet this requirement. Such factors can include lack of available testing facilities or personnel and prolonged or intermittent driver absences due to the COVID-19.
“The Agency issues this Notice to assure employers unable to fully comply with the requirements identified above that we will provide reasonable enforcement flexibility during this unprecedented pandemic, while also meeting FMCSA’s core safety mission. This Notice is not intended, and should not be perceived, as suspending the current random testing requirements… The Agency may exercise enforcement discretion in connection with motor carrier investigations occurring in calendar year 2021,”From the July 6th, FMCSA notice