FMCSA to allow some truck drivers to skip drug testing as they return from layoffs

The FMCSA says that this will cut down on administrative burdens and costs for trucking companies.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a waiver that will relax drug testing requirements for some truck drivers for the next few months.

On June 5, the FMCSA issued a three month waiver to ease drug testing requirements for some drivers in order to help with the transition back to work for drivers who were laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis.

The waiver would extend from 30 days to 90 days the the period under which drivers would qualify for a pre-employment controlled substance testing exception.

The FMCSA says that this waiver will “provide [motor carriers with] relief from the administrative burdens and costs associated with administering tests and allow them to return drivers to the workforce in a more efficient manner, thus promoting job creation and economic growth.”

Currently, prior to performing safety-sensitive work for an employer, a driver must undergo pre-employment testing for controlled substances and the employer must receive a verified negative test. This requirement also applies each time a driver returns to work after a furlough, lay-off, or other period of unemployment when the driver does not continue to be subject to random controlled substances testing.

Normally, there is an exception allowing an employer to forgo administration of a pre-employment test if the driver has participated in a controlled substances testing program within the previous 30 days and if, while participating in that program, the driver either was tested for controlled substances within the past 6 months or participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months. 

The waiver effectively extends the 30 day period to 90 days.

The FMCSA says that the waiver extending the 30 day period to 90 days “is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver.”

The waiver is effective through September 30, 2020.

The FMCSA says that they issued the waiver in response to President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13924, which directed federal agencies to “address this economic emergency [caused by COVID-19] by … waiving or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery consistent with applicable law and with protection of the public health and safety.”