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FMCSA Guidance for Drug & Alcohol Testing Amid Coronavirus Disruptions


FMCSA has released additional guidance after the U.S. DOT has released its own guidance document regarding drug and alcohol testing concerns due the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.


“To help ensure the safety and well-being of everyone, while also ensuring that we continue to meet our mission, we are providing the following guidance in effect until May 30, unless the national emergency is extended beyond that date,” FMCSA stated.

FMCSA echoed what DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance guidance stated that they recognized, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency are interfering with, and in some cases, maybe preventing employer and driver compliance with current drug and alcohol testing requirements.


Random drug testing

FMCSA said the random testing should be able to be made up at the end of the year if disruptions involving the COVID-19 national emergency have made it impossible to meet the required rates for drug and alcohol testing.


“You should document in writing the specific reasons why you were unable to conduct tests on drivers randomly selected and any actions taken to locate an alternative collection site or other testing resources,” FMCSA outlined.


Pre-employment testing

A prospective employee still needs to receive a “negative” pre-employment test result before he or she can perform DOT safety sensitive functions.


Post-accident testing

Drivers are required to be tested for alcohol and controlled substances as soon as “practicable” following a crash. However, if this cannot be done within eight hours for an alcohol test and within 32 hours for a drug test because of the national emergency, FMCSA says the specific reasons the test couldn’t be conducted must be documented.


Reasonable suspicion testing

FMCSA said if the test can’t be conducted because of the pandemic, the specific reasons must be documented.


“Include any efforts you made to mitigate the effect of the disruption, such as trying to locate an alternative collection site,” FMCSA outlined.


Return-to-duty testing

A driver is not allowed to perform any safety-sensitive functions until a return-to-duty test is conducted and there is a “negative” result.

Follow-up testing

Similar to other FMCSA guidance, any reasons follow-up testing can’t be conducted must be documented, the FMCSA stated.


Download the FMCSA guidance document

Download the U.S. DOT guidance document


Based on an article published by Lane Line Media

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