All commercial motor vehicle drivers must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. Section 382.305 of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations states that “every employer shall comply with the requirements of this section, which includes submitting to random alcohol and controlled substance testing.” A motor carrier is required to abide by very precise regulations. The most effective way to implement a program of random drug and alcohol testing will be described in this article.

Let’s clear up a few fundamentals before discussing the best ways to implement a random drug and alcohol testing program. You must first test a certain proportion of your drivers. As of 2008, the current percentages of drivers you must test on a yearly basis are as follows:

Alcohol – 10% of the average number of driving positions

Controlled Substances (Drugs) – 50% of the average number of driving positions

Let’s discuss the specifics of how you should choose your drivers now that the percentages are out of the way…

Your company should have a reliable random number generator program or another method that is supported by scientific research for randomly choosing which drivers will be tested. All drivers should be entered into the program, and you should decide how many drivers you will select and how frequently you will do so.

I run my program every month (obviously on various days of the month, so the tests are unpredictable), and as a result, I test between 5% and 8% of my drivers for drugs and between 2% and 5% of my drivers for alcohol. I do this so that, even if my average number of drivers fluctuates from month to month, I will be secure in the knowledge that, by the end of the year, I will have tested 50% of drivers for illicit substances and 10% for alcohol.

Joining a consortium for your drivers is an additional choice, but that is a completely different subject. In my selection process, I specify that the first eight drivers chosen will be tested for drugs, and the ninth and tenth drivers chosen will be tested for alcohol. In the event that a driver is chosen more than once, they will undergo drug and alcohol testing. As a side note, you can’t just throw names into a hat; you need to use a method that is backed by science and is compatible with a driver’s employee number, social security number, or other identifying number.

Making a record of your initial step is the next step. Proper documentation is the key to the entire program. Record the source of the random number generator, the macro formula, the date and people tested, the results of the test, and the method used to notify the selected drivers. In some circumstances, you might be the one conducting the test but not the one actually informing the drivers.

If so, you need to send a private email to whoever is informing the drivers—whether it’s the transportation manager, the HR manager, etc. The email should include the date the test was administered, how many participants were chosen, who was chosen, the right way to notify the drivers, where to send the drivers, and the deadline for submitting the results. There are no requirements for how frequently you must conduct your tests. The test can be performed weekly or once a year. You have a choice as long as you test the appropriate proportion of your drivers.

After documentation, confidentiality is the second most crucial idea in this process. For the sake of your program’s integrity, you must do this. Only when, before, and right after a safety-sensitive function can testing be done. You have a 4 hour window either before or after. This means that you cannot test a driver on his day off. Until they start working again, you must withhold his or her name. The driver must head over to the testing facility right away after being informed. The driver must be made aware that if they refuse to take the test, it will be deemed a positive test and will be recorded as such.

You must complete a final documentation of your random drug and alcohol testing program after the MRO’s complete set of results is received. In addition to the test results with backup copies from the testing facility, this should include a summary of the selection process, how your managers were notified, how the employees were informed they had been chosen.

This process will go fairly smoothly if you can keep it organized and adhere to the rules. To learn more, kindly click this link.

Noah Ostroff

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