Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

Random drug and alcohol testing applies to all drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and driving a vehicle used in commerce, whether interstate or intrastate, that meets one of the following criteria:
•    Has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
•    Has a GVW rating of 26,000 or more pounds
•    Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require placards.

Alcohol and Drug Testing
The random alcohol testing rate is 10 percent of the average number of driver positions. Random drug testing must be administered at a minimum annual rate of 50 percent of the average number of driver positions.

When Testing Must Be Conducted
A driver shall only be tested for alcohol while the driver is performing safety-sensitive functions, immediately prior to or immediately after performing safety-sensitive functions. Drug testing may be performed at any time while the driver is at work for the employer. The driver may be doing clerical or mechanical repair duties at the time of notification by the employer. (Suggestion: You should consider adding to your company policy that you have the right to test your CDL drivers at any time they are on your property or on
the clock.)

Selection and Notification
Selection of drivers shall be made by a scientifically valid method, such as a random number table or a computer-based random number generator that is matched with drivers’ Social Security numbers, payroll identification numbers or other comparable identifying numbers. Pulling names from a hat is not a scientifically valid method.

The employer shall ensure that random tests are unannounced and spread reasonably throughout the year.

The employer shall ensure that drivers selected for random tests proceed immediately to the testing site upon notification of being selected. You are allowed to pick the day and time for the testing to fit around your schedule.

If a driver who is selected for a random test is on vacation, is laid off or is on an extended medical absence, the employer can keep the selection confidential until the driver returns, provided the driver is notified and gets tested before the end of the cycle. If the driver will not be available for testing during the selection period, an alternate may be selected. If a driver’s name is skipped entirely, the employer must keep documentation that the driver was ill, injured, laid off or on vacation and that the driver was in the random selection pool for that cycle. An additional driver should be selected during the next testing cycle to achieve the annual testing rate. Employers are not allowed to notify any drivers to submit to a test while the driver is off work due to these circumstances. An individual’s name should not be removed from the random pool as long as there is a reasonable expectation of the employee’s return. In the event a driver’s name is out of the random testing program for more than 30 days, the pre-employment drug testing provisions of the regulations would apply when the driver returns.

If the employer conducts random alcohol testing through a consortium, the number of drivers to be tested may be calculated for each individual employer, or may be based on the total number of subject drivers covered by the consortium.

A consortium that performs selection and/or testing services as agents for the employer must prepare and provide to the employer complete and comprehensive descriptions of the procedures used by the consortium. An employer must have this information readily available for inspection.

Also, documentation must be provided that the consortium is testing at the prescribed minimum annual percentage rate for alcohol and/or controlled substances. Each employer is at no time relieved of the duty to comply with each requirement of this rule.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Michael Dodd Meet the Author
GAWDA’s DOT, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Members can reach him at 573-718-2887 and MLDSafety@hotmail.com.