Jul 26, 2021

What is FMCSA Compliance

When it comes to DOT drug testing, there’s no denying that some of the information online today can be very overwhelming and difficult to understand. All companies that are regulated under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are required to test certain employees for drugs and alcohol in a wide range of situations. As well as a pre-employment test, DOT random drug and alcohol testing must also take place throughout their employment.

That's why most trucking companies find it more convenient and practical to be part of a Consortium/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs) like Labworks USA to manage all, or part, of an employer's DOT drug and alcohol testing program. We perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and to help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing rules and regulations. We as a DOT Consortium can help you.  Today we’re going to share with you everything you need to know about DOT drug testing and discuss what is FMCSA compliance to help ensure you are fully compliant as a driver or carrier.

Who Has to Take DOT Drug Tests?

There are eleven different agencies that fall under the DOT banner, and these agencies all come under one of six modalities, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Anyone who is considered to be a safety-sensitive employee in any of these agencies will need to be drug tested at various points in their career. Before being employed by a company, drivers must undertake a pre-employment drug test before they can be hired. Employers must also carry out random drug testing throughout the year, and there are minimum rates they must adhere to, which are set by the DOT agencies.

When accidents and incidents occur, post-accident drug and alcohol testing will take place. Also, as an employer, you have the responsibility to test drivers who may appear to be under the influence. When an employee does fail a DOT drug test, and they want to return to work, they’ll be tested prior to being allowed to work again and then will be subject to random follow-up drug tests for up to five years. However, before anyone can return to work following a positive test, they’ll need to undergo a program as recommended by a Substance Abuse Professional. Learn more about what to do when an employee fails a drug test here. It’s important to note that there is plenty of support on offer if you do find yourself with employees who fail drug tests and that you should always direct them to the resources available.

What Is FMCSA Compliance?

The FMCSA works to ensure that carriers and drivers are compliant with their safety standards and regulations. They have a safety compliance program which is called CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability). Carriers can find all of their data stored on the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), where they can look at safety violations and crash and accident data. This system is broken down into various categories, which are used to organize this data. 

We can further support you if you don't know how to start your FMCSA Clearinghouse registration, CLICK HERE.

Controlled Substances and Alcohol

When it comes to drug and alcohol testing, the section you’ll need to pay the most attention to is Controlled Substances/Alcohol. This section category records the use or possession of drugs and alcohol, which is something you’ll want to ensure you keep to an absolute minimum within your company. This system creates a score based on the data for your company in the past 24 months, and you receive a score for each of the areas, which are called BASICs. This score is then assigned to a carrier’s DOT number, which is updated every month with the data for your carrier for the past two years.

Remaining in Compliance

Carriers are then grouped with other carriers who have similar scores, and a ranking system is used to determine whether intervention is needed to help improve your scores and remain in compliance. The data will take into account the number of vehicles you own and operate and how much your drivers traveled in the past years. It’s important that as a carrier, you keep your eye on your score throughout the year to avoid any issues with compliance. This is why DOT drug testing is imperative for companies, and you’ll need to ensure your employees are aware of the risks to your company for failing a test.

For your reference, here's a list of DOT Consortium services we offer at Labworks USA with respective rates.

Why Is FMCSA Compliance So Important for Carriers and Drivers?

The CSA program was put into place by the FMCSA to try and reduce the number of accidents that were taking place on the roads across the U.S. On top of that, they aim to hold carriers accountable for their safety standards and to ensure they are following the DOT drug testing requirements. While there isn’t a minimum score currently, there are thresholds that suggest your company needs intervention. At this point, you’ll receive a warning, which will encourage you to start correcting your records immediately. The top priority of the FMCSA is the safety of everyone on our roads today. They are working to hold drivers and carriers more accountable for everyone’s safety and to reduce the number of incidents that jeopardize the lives of thousands of people each year on our roads. As a carrier, make sure you are offering your drivers a safe and secure environment to work in each day.

Minimum DOT Drug Testing Requirements

The FMCSA has a minimum DOT drug testing requirement for drug testing within driver positions and for random alcohol testing. These percentages are subject to change but would be updated in the Federal Register if anything was to change. As a carrier, you’ll need to ensure the required number of tests are taking place and that all drivers you hire have a pre-employment test. Hiring a driver who hasn’t passed these tests or completed the required program if they fail could jeopardize your business for the future. If you need any assistance with your random DOT drug testing, we encourage you to reach out to our team at LabWorks, who will be happy to discuss the requirements for your business and assist you with anything you need in this area.

If you’re searching for DOT drug testing near me, LabWorks USA has everything you need. We offer exceptional rates for CDL and truck driver testing. Make sure you stay in compliance with FMCSA requirements at all times with the help of LabWorks USA this year.

If you are looking for more information about drug and alcohol testing as a truck driver, visit LabWorks USA. Our DOT Consortium's friendly team will be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have and work with you to ensure you are always fully compliant specially with Random DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing. Moreover, if you need help with FMCSA Clearinghouse registration, we can further support you.