The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced it would use discretion when enforcing the random drug and alcohol testing requirements on motor carriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under federal law, motor carriers must randomly test 50% of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances and 10% for alcohol over the course of a calendar year. Those requirements remain under this notice. FMCSA emphasized that motor carriers must continue to make every effort to comply with the requirements.

However, FMCSA recognizes that the pandemic affected the ability of fleets to conduct the tests. COVID-19 caused closures or restricted use of testing facilities and limited the availability of testing personnel due to the public health emergency. The agency also recognizes that drivers may have been furloughed for a portion of the year.

Motor carriers unable to fully comply with the requirements must document the specific reasons why they could not complete the tests and their attempts to identify other testing sites and resources. FMCSA made clear in the notice that it expects carriers to make every effort to comply.

FMCSA will exercise this enforcement discretion through the balance of 2020, as the random test rates and randomness requirements are determined on a calendar year basis. FMCSA acknowledges the practical compliance problems created by the pandemic but continues its efforts to strengthen overall drug testing.

You can read this notice on the FMCSA website.