On Thursday, December 26th, 2019 the FMCSA announced that it is increasing the random drug testing rate for 2020 from 25% to 50%. Alcohol testing will remain at 10%. A summary of the notice is listed below:
The FMCSA announces that it is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the current rate of 25 percent of the average number of driver positions to 50 percent of the average number of driver positions, effective in calendar year 2020. The FMCSA Administrator must increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate when the data received under the reporting requirements for any calendar year indicate that the reported positive rate is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent. Based on the results of the 2018 FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey, the positive rate for controlled substances random testing increased to 1.0 percent. Therefore, the Agency will increase the controlled substances minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing to 50 percent of the average number of driver positions
According to the FMCSA, the increased drug testing rate means that 2.1 million random drug tests will need to be conducted in calendar year 2020, double the number of 2019 tests.
The FMCSA is required by the 2001 FMCSA Final Rule entitled “Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing” to increase the random drug test rate from 25% to 50% following any calendar year during which the reported positive drug test rate is equal to or greater than 1.0%.
The FMCSA says that the positive rate for controlled substances random testing in 2018 reached 1%, up from 0.7% in 2016 and 0.8% in 2017. That is a rise of 42.8% from 2016 to 2018.
The FMCSA did not suggest a reason for the rise in positive results, but those in the drug testing industry cite not only the trend of marijuana legalization, but also the 1/1/18 addition of synthetic opioids to the federal drug test panel.