2020 DOT Testing Rates for Truckers



The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is doubling the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substance testing for commercial motor vehicle drivers, from 25% to 50% percent, effective Jan. 1, in response to rising positive drug-testing rates.


Industry Impact of Drug-Testing Change

FMCSA estimates there are 3.2 million CDL holders operating in interstate commerce and 1 million CDL holders operating in intrastate commerce. That means that the minimum number of random drug tests performed will increase from 1.05 million at the previous 25% rate to approximately 2.1 million in calendar year 2020. The agency estimates it will cost the trucking industry an estimated $50 million to $70 million to conduct the additional tests.

Calling the move “a financial hit to the industry that no one was expecting,” Dave Osiecki, president and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, told HDT that although this drug testing data was collected in the first quarter of 2019, “until now, there has been no indication from FMCSA about the increase in positive tests that has led to random testing rate change.”

He noted that this random testing rate increase is likely to have a small productivity impact as well, because the process of taking the driver off the road and directing him/her to a testing site takes up time that would otherwise be productive working time.

More importantly, Osiecki added, “it’s disappointing to learn that more drivers are testing positive for drugs,” Osiecki added. “This is a clear safety concern. Perhaps this is a result of greater marijuana use due to changing state laws?”

We now have a new office in Memphis, TN

Feel free to give us a call at (901) 318 7214 for any drug testing needs including Background Checks.

Employing a candidate who frequently uses drugs can impact the overall productivity of your business. In such cases, it becomes very difficult to deliver quality services to your customers while competing with potential competitors. Your firm is likely to suffer from employee absenteeism and become vulnerable to client criticism. To avoid such situations, most companies practice several drug-testing programs. This allows them to maintain a healthy work environment and reduce on-the-job accidents.

Businesses that are involved in motor or air carrier, public transportation, maritime, or pipeline operation activities; have to indulge in random workplace drug and alcohol testing to comply with the guidelines set by U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). These tests are designed to ensure the safety of employees working in sensitive positions. For getting confirmation, different combinations of DOT saliva alcohol tests and DOT alcohol breathalyzers with PAS devices are used. Here are a few tips for effective random DOT drug testing:-

  • Set an appropriate frequency

Following a dedicated DOT drug testing schedule is an absolute necessity. According to the guidelines set by the government, these tests should take place within a prescribed time period every year. However, employers should take into account their organization needs too while setting the testing schedule. For avoiding lat minute hassles, employers are recommended to conduct a thorough research at the beginning of every year for gathering information about the latest DOT drug test requirements. Once you know the rules, you can schedule the tests according to your requirements.

  • Discuss it with your employees

When it comes to DOT drug testing, transparency is the key. You need to ensure that there is uniformity in the system and no employee has issues with it. Strict implementation of DOT guidelines will help you maintain consistency in your organization. It is always recommended to talk freely about such matters with your employees and get regular feedback from them.

  • Match the test types to your needs

There are several tests that can be employed for complying with DOT guidelines. You can opt for urine and instant tests for taking good care of the health of your employees. All these tests have their unique advantages and can be implemented without many hassles. To choose the right test type, you should keep yourself updated with the publications of organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA).

To manage a drug free workplace program, get in touch with the staff of Mobile Drug Testing.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The federal government did not require 4 powerful opioids be included in random drug test screenings of pilots until now.

Beginning January 1, 2018 DOT random drug tests of all pilots, commercial and recreational, will be tested for four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).

Some common names for these semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®.


ROCKVILLE, Md. — Members of a federal drug testing advisory board met in a closed session on March 21 to review a draft proposed rule. The rule would allow trucking companies to conduct government-certified pre-employment drug testing using hair samples, according to a top official with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The board met via an online remote session because the government was shut down due to a late-season snowstorm in the nation’s capital, Chairman Ron Flegel said.


Flegel declined comment on the details of the meeting, but it seemed clear that officials were making progress on the proposal.

Urinalysis is currently the only federally approved drug-testing method for truck drivers. Although Congress mandated that the hair-test rule be implemented by the end of 2016, Flegel said there still is no established timeline for review of the proposal before it is published in the Federal Register for public comment. That process must be completed before it can become law.

“There are some scientific technical issues that have been addressed through literature or specific studies,” Flegel told board members at a March 20 meeting here. “In order to develop scientifically sound mandatory guidelines the rule requires addressing these two specific scientific issues for the use of hair as a drug testing specimen. The timeline is not really static.”

Those issues, which include the impact of hair color and decontamination of hair specimens, have been addressed in the draft proposal, he said.

However, before the proposal can be posted in the Federal Register, it must gain approval of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Management and Budget, Flegel said.

DHHS is the agency ultimately responsible for issuing a proposed and final rule that could be adopted by the Department of Transportation for testing such safety-sensitive employees as truck drivers.

SAMHSA is a subagency of DHHS.


Flegel by Eric Miller/Transport Topics

“Right now we’re currently in the proposed phase,” Flegel told Transport Topics after the March 20 board meeting. “We’re reviewing comments and recommendations. Once we’re able to clarify those, we hope to put that in the process of review.”

Flegel said it’s very difficult to estimate how long the review process would take after SAMHSA’s administrator approves the proposal.

“For instance, OMB has 60 to 90 days to review it,” he said.

Some motor carriers have been hair testing for years. Not only do hair samples have a longer detection window — up to 90 days — but the samples are collected in an observed test, preventing drivers from cheating.

Federal approval of the hair alternative would decrease the costs for carriers that currently conduct both urine and hair sample tests, as they would be required to conduct just one of the tests.

Chris Spear


In a letter sent to DHHS a year ago, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear said that a lack of action to comply with the congressional mandate is having real impacts on the industry.

“Many trucking companies are using urinalysis to meet federal requirements while also paying the additional cost to conduct hair testing,” Spear said in his letter. “We are frustrated that the previous administration failed to meet the statutory deadline and believe your leadership will finally see a resolution to this long-standing and important safety rule.”

Onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing

Anyone.Anywhere. Anytime

We bring the Lab to you.

Teachers, intensive care nurses and transport staff should face mandatory drug tests at work, Britain’s most senior police officer has claimed.

The claim from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, that millions of workers should take random tests is likely to prove controversial with civil liberties groups and trade unions. In a speech to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cannabis and Children, Sir Bernard said anyone who failed the mandatory tests and refused help to get clean should lose their jobs.

He said testing should take place in “all occupations” but cited Britain’s public sector workers in particular, claiming the fear of losing jobs would act as a deterrent to cannabis use.

“It seems to me we have got to plant in people’s minds something to affect the demand as well as supply,” Sir Bernard said. “You can think of many occupations where if you were working with a colleague you would want to be sure in fact that they were drug-free.”

He said parents born in the 1960s and 70s, were failing to warn their children about the dangers of modern marijuana, including skunk. He said the potency of cannabis had increased “five-fold” in the last half century.

“It is refreshing to hear a senior police office who is deeply aware of the dangers of today’s cannabis,” said Mary Brett, from the Cannabis Skunk Sense charity.

In the US, random drug testing is commonplace. Companies say the tests help identify theft risk and improve employee reliability and productivity.





Amphetamines (Methamphetamine)

1-3 days

24-36 hours

Up to 90 days


All: 1-3 days



1-3 weeks

1-2 days

Not available


1-14 days

1-2 days

Not available


1-3 days

24-36 hours

Up to 90 days


Occasional Use:

1-3 days

Chronic Use:

Up to 30 days

Less than 24 hours

Up to 90 days


1-3 days

Not available

Not available


1-7 days

Not available

Not available

Opiates (Codeine, Heroin, Morphine)

1-3 days

24-36 hours

Up to 90 days


1-3 days

24-36 hours

Not available

Phencyclidine (PCP)

1-5 days

24-36 hours

Up to 90 days


1-3 days

Not available

Not available

Ecstasy (MDMA)

2-4 days

24-36 hours

Up to 90 days