Is Your Drug Testing Provider Meeting the DOT Testing Rates?

January 9, 2024

 Drug and alcohol testing

According to a recent announcement by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the minimum drug and alcohol random testing rates for 2024 will stay the same as they were in 2023. This means minimum testing rates will continue to be 10% for alcohol and 50% for drugs annually. But are you confident your drug testing provider is meeting these requirements?

Among the top 20 critical violations found during DOT audits each year is a failure to conduct enough random drug or alcohol tests. When the end of the year approaches you need to be sure you’re meeting these minimum random testing requirements set forth in 382.305.


Procrastinators Beware!
Carriers and their testing providers that wait too long to schedule their final random tests of the year run into problems when faced with increased holiday business, vacations, company shutdowns, and other unforeseen events. Selected drivers might be unavailable for testing before time runs out.

The following are answers that your drug testing provider should know to common questions about the random testing requirements:


Do we need all test results by December 31?
Having the test results in hand by December 31 is recommended, although simply completing all tests by that date is allowed, even if the results are not received until sometime in the new year, according to the FMCSA.


What if we completed all our tests but still don’t have enough?
If a motor carrier performed all its scheduled random tests but comes up short on its annual numbers, it can perform a supplemental draw of names to reach the 10- and 50-percent rates. The selection must be random, and the tests must be performed by the end of the year.


What if we draw the name of a driver who is on vacation?
You have one or two choices when a selected driver is on vacation and you’re approaching the end of the year:

  1. You can (randomly) select an alternate name. This is only allowed when the primary driver is not available for testing “because of long-term absence due to layoff, illness, injury, vacation, or other circumstances.” Be sure to document why the original driver could not be tested.
  2. For drug testing only, if you have a policy to test drivers who are off duty (and have communicated that policy to all drivers), you can notify the driver of the test, but you have to make sure the driver proceeds immediately to the collection site. This means the driver must “drop everything and go.” Because it can be hard to tell if a vacationing driver is available for testing, it can be very hard to meet that standard.


How do you calculate the annual “average number of driver positions”?
The answer depends on whether your carrier’s number of driver positions fluctuates.

  • If there’s no fluctuation over the course of the year, you simply multiply the number of CDL driver positions you have by 10 percent and 50 percent. If you have 45 driver positions, for example, you must conduct 5 tests for alcohol and 23 tests for drugs (always round up) by the end of the calendar year.
  • If you have fluctuations, you’ll need to estimate the number needed each time you make a selection of names during the year (monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly). Then, as the year goes by, you’ll need to average out the number of positions you had in each selection period and adjust the number of names you draw accordingly.


Keep in mind: The annual testing rates are based on driver positions, not the number of drivers you employ or use during the year.


Key to remember: When the end of the year approaches, make sure your drug testing provider conducted enough random drug and alcohol tests to meet minimum FMCSA requirements.

Need help? Be confident your drug testing provider always meets the random testing rates by switching to the industry’s most trusted service, J. J. Keller’s DOT Drug & Alcohol Program Management Service.