The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended the waiver of random drug and alcohol testing for interstate truck drivers, but only those who haul certain supplies needed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The agency earlier extended its waiver of pre-employment testing for truck and bus drivers to Sept. 30. It has now announced that the random drug testing waiver will continue to the end of 2020 and might possibly be extended into 2021.
The exemption applies to haulers of medical supplies and equipment for testing, diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19; and medical equipment needed for community safety, sanitation and prevention of disease transmission, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
It also applies to road transportation of livestock and livestock feed. However, carriers should note that it no longer covers routine commercial deliveries that include mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief supplies and equipment.
FMCSA said that through the end of the year it will remain flexible when it finds that, because of Covid-19, employers are unable to comply with the minimum annual percentage rates for random substance abuse testing, or are unable to space the test dates “reasonably throughout the calendar year.”
“FMCSA is continuing the exemption because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place, and because a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains,” said Department of Transportation Deputy Administrator and head of FMCSA Jim Mullen,
Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rate of 50% of their average number of driver position for controlled substances, and 10% for random alcohol testing during the calendar year 2020. notes attorney Kathryn Russo of the Jackson Lewis law firm.
If a test is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the carrier must maintain written documentation of the specific reasons for non-compliance, including documenting closures or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Employers also should document actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources, she adds.