Dan Larson

DOT Issues Random Testing Rates

Transportation worker random drug testing rates issuedEvery year, federal regulations require agencies that regulate transportation safety to publish standards for a minimum rate of random drug testing. These rates often provide guidance for other programs that rely on random drug testing standards to ensure program integrity.

Dept. of Transportation Random Testing Rates for 2018

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Drug testing rate, 25%; Alcohol testing rate, 10%
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Drug testing, 25%; Alcohol testing, 10%
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA): Drug testing for covered service, 25%; Drug testing for maintenance of way, 50%; Alcohol testing for covered service, 10%; Alcohol testing for maintenance of way, 25%
  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA): Drug testing, 25%; Alcohol testing, 10%
  • Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA): Drug testing, 50%; Alcohol testing, N/A
  • US Coast Guard (USCG): Drug testing, 25%; Alcohol testing, N/A

Note: Testing rates are established by each DOT agency as minimum requirements; companies may set higher random rates.

Random testing rates establish a minimum number of random tests per 100 employees per year. For example, a 50 percent testing rate means for every 100 employees, 50 tests are conducted per year. Random testing means that for each test, any person in the pool of candidates could be selected to test; some persons could be selected more than once and some not at all.

In 2016, FMCSA lowered its random drug testing rates to 25 percent from 50 percent following a federal Management Information Survey that showed the positive test rate for 2011 – 2013 was less than 1 percent. Federal regulations require the agency to raise the random testing rate to 50 percent whenever positive rate exceeds 1 percent for a calendar year.

In July, 2017, published reports predicted FMSCA and FTA would raise the random drug test minimum to 50 percent in 2018. One report noted the positive rate in May 2017 was 0.96 percent. With increased availability of legalized cannabis and a proposed increase of the opioid panel for USDOT testing, news reports predicted, incorrectly, the positive rate would likely exceed the 1 percent threshold, triggering an increase in the random drug testing rate.

FMSCA announced in January the random rate would not change and that its drug test would likewise remain a 5-panel test: Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opioids, and Phencyclidine (PCP). It added that the opioid test spectrum is increased this year resulting in an expansion to 14 of the total number of drugs that are tested in the 5-panel test.

However, at PHMSA, the agency was required to raise its 2018 random drug testing rate to 50 percent from 25 percent due to a positive test rate exceeding 1 percent in 2017.

Other USDOT random drug testing regulations, such as chain of custody forms, remain unchanged, the department stated.

Additional information can be found in the current USDOT best practices guidance for random drug and alcohol testing, available here.

Source: DOT, Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, Washington, DC.

Compliance Using Mobile App Is Simple, Inexpensive Solution

Call2Test announced today the launch of ConnectComply, a new mobile app that provides drug court administrators with the solution for managing random drug test scheduling. The mobile app is easy to use, economic and can fit drug court programs large and small.

In a March 28, 2018, news release, Ed Larson, president of Call2Test LLC, called ConnectComply the answer to drug court demands for “effectively managing growing rosters of offenders that assures compliance with industry benchmarks.”

According to the US Dept. of Justice, of the 3,100 drug courts now operational across the country, half are organized for adult drug treatment. The department notes that drug courts are proven effective in reducing drug use relapse and criminal recidivism. Key to their success are random drug and alcohol testing to hold participants accountable for their activities.

To assure judicial oversight that drug court random testing programs are administered properly, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) established drug and alcohol testing best practices for program administrators. A key component of an effective program includes the ability to manage and secure daily random testing schedules and produce meaningful assessments of program outcomes.

With ConnectComply, efficient management of offender rosters, automatic detection of non-compliance, and fast report generation for individuals and program overviews.

“ConnectComply is fast, easy to use and economical,” Larson said. “With the widespread acceptance of smartphones, drug test check-ins with a selfie give administrators a new level of confidence in offender compliance.”

For more, see the Call2Test news release

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