Random DOT Drug Testing Best Practices

Understanding DOT and related agency regulations can be daunting. Foley's drug and alcohol programs stay on top of it for you.

Establishing Random Testing Rates

Each agency within the DOT sets standards for testing rates. These rates can fluctuate over time, and the most current standards can be found on the DOT website. As of August 2022:

Agency Drug Testing Rate Alcohol Testing Rate
FMCSA 50% 10%
FAA 25% 10%
FTA 50% 10%
FRA 25% - Covered Service 10% - Covered Service
25% - Maintenance of Way 10% - Maintenance of Way
50% - Mechanical 10% - Mechanical

Translation: As an FMCSA-regulated company with 100 safety-senstive employees, you would be expected to randomly drug test 50 employees and 10 for random alcohol tests during the calendar year.


Selecting Employees

Employees should be selected using a scientifically random method that gives each an equal chance of being selected. Options include random number tables or software-based random number generators traceable to a specific employee.

Selecting numbers from a hat, rolling dice, picking cards, throwing darts, or similar methods do not meet the standards for random selection.


Frequency and Timing of Selections

Your random selections should occur at least quarterly, though more frequent selections are a good idea.

The timing of when you notify employees of a random selection should be unpredictable; for example, don't consistently inform them on the first Monday of the quarter at the beginning of the day.


Maintaining Documentation

While not required by law, it's best practice to maintain documentation of your entire random selection process. How many were selected and when, who was selected on what dates, when were their specimens collected, and which had valid excuses are questions you should be able to answer.


Additional FAQs on DOT random drug and alcohol testing can be found on the DOT website.

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