FMCSA Random Drug Testing – Frequently Asked Questions

fmcsa random drug testing

Random testing for drugs and alcohol is a common exercise in many companies of the united states, from truck drivers to pilots. Even professional athletes are usually subjected to such tests before their professional activities. The Federation Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States has outlined certain criteria for drug and alcohol testing of employees and it is some of these criteria that we will highlight in this article in the form of frequently asked questions.

Are non CDL drivers operating CMVs included in the DOT random testing pools?

No. non CDL drivers may not be included by their employer in the DOT random testing pool. DOT and the FMCSA alcohol and drug testing rules apply to any driver operating a CMV in intrastate or interstate commerce. These drivers are subject to the necessary CDL requirements. When an employer deigns to provide testing services beyond what is stated by the DOT regulations, it should not be represented as a DOT test. All the non DOT covered drivers requiring drug and alcohol testing should be put in a pool that is separate from those covered by DOT.

If you are provided a DOT random test by your verification by the medical review officer is delayed until the following year, what year does the test count?

This is usually a major challenge to employees who have had their random selection for drug and alcohol tests in the fourth quarter of the year. Nonetheless, the test only counts towards the year in which the specimen was collected, notwithstanding the year in which the test results were verified by the medical review officer.

How frequently should selections be done under an employer’s random testing program?

It is a requirement that the random tests are reasonably spread throughout the calendar year. For the tests to qualify as valid, the day and time of tests should remain unannounced and unknown to the employees. The tests are randomized and organized in such a way that there is no bias and every employee has an equal chance of getting selected for drug and alcohol testing.


There are a number of details to get right when preparing for FMCSA random drug testing. Majority of these regulations also apply during drug tests for pilots albeit with details specific for the aviation industry.

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