FMCSA Notice on Meeting Random Testing Requirements due to COVID-19
The FMSCA released a notice regarding random drug testing requirements for 2020 due to COVID. Read more detail in our blog.
On July 6th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a notice regarding meeting the random testing requirement for 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to this point in time, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and all state DOT agencies have held firm that the number of random tests to be done by a covered employer would remain unchanged. With this notice, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has given a potential out for some motor carriers due to regional closures of all clinics and collection sites for drug screen collection and/or breath alcohol testing services.
In this notice, FMCSA acknowledges that in some regions of the United States, motor carriers are unable to comply with the required random testing requirements due to pandemic outages. Due to these outages, FMCSA may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage of testing (which is 50% for drug tests and 10% of breath alcohol tests) as well as if the density of completed testing are not evenly spread throughout the year. In their notice, FMCSA emphatically emphasized, “employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so.”
What does this functionally mean?
For the vast majority of motor carriers, it means that you still need to hit the minimum thresholds, since there was only a limited time when clinics were unavailable due to the pandemic (our network of over 20,000 clinics showed only a 5% unavailability at the height of the pandemic closures). However, if you suspended testing during the closures, you just need to articulate why and have that available if audited.
For carriers who work only in regions with profound and longstanding pandemic clinic outages, you need to document thoroughly if you are unable to meet the requirement by the end of the year. I recommend that you obtain statements from your clinic network to support your allegations since FMCSA is using the term “agency discretion.” The more you can have documentation that your regional clinic network could not provide the needed service, the better it is for you to have the discretionary decision fall in your favor.
We recommend that you read the entire notice in full: FMSCA July 6, 2020 Notice Of Enforcement Discretion Determination: Random Controlled Substance And Alcohol Testing
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Dr. Todd Simo
Dr. Todd Simo currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer and Managing Director of Transportation at HireRight. He came to HireRight with a decade of experience in the medical consulting arena. Prior to HireRight, he was the Medical Director of an occupational health clinic in Virginia and owned a consulting firm providing medical director service to multiple companies located throughout the country. In that capacity, he established multiple customer specific health and drug screening services. In his current position, he oversees HireRight's medical department.