The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 set the groundwork for the creation of the FMCSA, which was created on January 1, 2000. This established the FMCSA as a seperate operating division within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
The FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, DC and with a staff of more than 1,000 people in all 50 States and the District of Columbia and is the Federal Agency taking the initiative for regulating, providing safety and oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and saving lives.
Affiliating with transportation industry partners, safety advocates, along with state and local governments, the FMCSA maintains our nation’s roadways for safety and strive to improve commercial motor vehicle safety through regulation, education, enforcement, research, and technology.
In 1991, the United States Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, which required DOT agencies to implement drug and alcohol testing for all safety sensitive transportation employees. Congress recognized the need for a drug and alcohol free transportation industry, and thus 49 CFR Part 40, commonly referred to as Part 40 was established as a DOT-wide regulation that provides guidance on:
49 CFR Part 40 provides guidance on all DOT-required drug and alcohol testing, regardless of mode of transportation. For example, whether you are an airline pilot covered by FAA rules or a driver for a trucking company covered by FMCSA rules, Part 40 outlines the specific procedures for collection, testing of specimens and reporting of test results. Each DOT Agency-specific regulation defines who is subject to testing, when and in what situations for that specific transportation industry.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and 49 CFR Part 40 has defined drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations for employees who drive commercial trucks and buses that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These regulations identify who is subject to testing, when they are tested and in what situations. The regulations also require privacy protections and restrictions on employers and service agents against the use and release of sensitive drug and alcohol testing information. The FMCSA controlled substances and alcohol use and testing regulations can be found at 49 CFR Part 382.
Typically, all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles are subject to the CDL requirements on the public roadways in the United States and who are also performing safety-sensitive functions are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing under section (§382.103). This would also include all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup and international drivers.
Alcohol – DOT alcohol tests can use either saliva or breath (with PAS devices) but confirmation tests must use EBT devices.
Drugs – As specified in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40 with the Cut Off levels listed in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40; the following substances will be tested for:
**Some common names for the new semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.
The DOT defines Pre-employment testing as prior to the first time any employee performs safety-sensitive functions for any employer (including a single owner operator). Part 40 states that the driver/safety-sensitive employee shall undergo testing for controlled substances as a condition of employment.
Furthermore, no employer shall allow a driver, who the employer intends to hire or use, to perform safety-sensitive functions unless the employer has received a controlled substances test result from the MRO or C/TPA indicating a verified negative test result for that driver/employee.
A SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) is required when any safety sensitive employee violates any DOT drug and alcohol regulations. Once the violation has occurred, the employee must not perform any DOT safety-sensitive duties for any employer until and unless he/she completes the SAP evaluation, referral, and education/treatment process set forth in this subpart and in applicable DOT agency regulations.
Employers wishing to permit the employee to return to the performance of safety-sensitive functions, you must ensure that the employee takes a return-to-duty test. This test cannot occur until after the SAP has determined that the employee has successfully complied with prescribed education and/or treatment. The employee must have a negative drug test result and/or an alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02 before resuming performance of safety-sensitive duties.
A SAP or MRO must not make a “fitness for duty” determination as part of this re-evaluation unless required to do so under an applicable DOT agency regulation. It is the employer’s responsibility to decide whether to put the employee back to work in a safety-sensitive position.
Follow-up testing is required for drivers who:
Follow up testing is prescribed by the substance abuse professional (SAP) for a minimum of 6 directly observed tests in 12 months, but can be extended an additional four years.
Yes, the following examples are allowed by the DOT as exceptions to the pre-employment drug testing requirement:
An employer is not required to administer a controlled substances pre-employment test required by this section if:
If an employer chooses to exercise the above referenced exception must contact the controlled substances testing program(s) in which the driver participates or participated and shall obtain and retain from the testing program(s) the following information:
Employers may choose but are not required to, conduct pre-employment alcohol testing under this part. However, if an employer chooses to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing, it must comply with the following requirements:
For information regarding the effects of drug abuse – Click Here
For information on a drug free work place – Click Here
For information on substance abuse programs – Click Here
For information on DOT Drug / Alcohol Testing requirements – Click Here