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The safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and the public is paramount, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires companies to perform random testing on their drivers. However, the question remains: how frequently do companies carry out random drug and alcohol testing to ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations?

FMCSA Random Drug Test Regulation

The FMCSA estimates that the cost of drug and alcohol-related crashes is over $120 billion annually. According to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 10% of all commercial drivers use drugs and/or alcohol while on the job. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol have impaired judgment, reduced reaction times, and diminished awareness of their surroundings. This behavior not only puts the driver at risk but also endangers other motorists on the road.

What are the DOT random testing rates?

The DOT random testing rates are the minimum percentages of your employees who must be tested for drugs and alcohol each year. The DOT Agency that regulates your specific transportation industry sets the random testing rates. You must ensure that at least 50% of your safety-sensitive employees are tested for drugs and at least 10% are tested for alcohol during the calendar year. However, you can test more than the minimum rates if you wish to do so.

The DOT Agency can also increase or decrease the random testing rates based on the industry-wide positive test results. For example, if the FMCSA finds that the positive drug test rate for commercial drivers is higher than 1%, it can increase the drug testing rate to 75%.


According to DOT, “An employer may perform testing beyond that required by the DOT rules, but the employer may not represent such testing as a DOT test and must place non-DOT covered employee drug and alcohol testing in a pool aka stand-alone pool that is completely separate from the DOT random testing pool to make a random testing consortium.

Must read:

DOT Random Testing Pool vs Stand-Alone Pool

Difference Between DOT and Non-DOT

How do we conduct random testing effectively?

To conduct random testing effectively, you need to follow some best practices recommended by the DOT. Here are some of them:

  • You need to have a written policy that explains your random testing program and informs your employees about their rights and responsibilities.
  • Using a scientifically valid method to select your employees for random testing is compulsory, such as a computer-generated random number table. You cannot use any subjective or biased criteria to select your employees that’s where goMDnow as your cTPA will help you out by running random testing pool to select random employees for drug and alcohol testing.
  • You need to ensure that your random testing is unpredictable and unannounced. You cannot inform your employees in advance about the testing dates or times.
  • You need to test your employees as soon as possible after notifying them of their selection. You cannot allow them to delay or refuse the test.
  • You need to maintain records of your random testing program and ensure confidentiality of the test results.

Random drug and alcohol testing is a powerful tool for trucking companies looking to improve their compliance and safety records while staying ahead of the competition. goMDnow offers a wide range of online FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Consortium services by making sure that they are affordable, convenient, easy, and quick.


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