FMCSA Consortiums

Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 set the groundwork for the creation of the FMCSA, which was created on January 1, 2000.  This established the FMCSA was as a seperate operating division within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). 

Where is the FMCSA located?

The FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, DC and with a staff of more than 1,000 people in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.  This Federal Agency is responsible with taking the initiative for:

regulating,

providing safety and oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs),

improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and

saving lives.

FMCSA Mission

reduce crashes,

reduce injuries, and

reduce fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

The FMCSA partners with the its transportation industry partners, safety advocates, along with state and local governments.  The FMCSA maintains our nation's roadways safe and strive to improve commercial motor vehicle safety through regulation, education, enforcement, research, and technology.

What do CDL Drivers Need to Know?

Many Employers/individuals often ask the question, “how do I know if I am subject to the US DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations?”

Do you or any of your employees:

  1. Have a current Commercial Driver's License (CDL), or similar license issued by Mexico or Canada, and
  2. Operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) in any state?

What is a commercial Motor vehicle (CMV)?

A CMV is described as a vehicle:

  1. with a gross vehicle weight rating/gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight rating/gross combination weight of 26,001 or more lbs., or (examples include:)
  2. that is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or
  3. ANY size vehicle that is used to transport hazardous materials which require the vehicle to be placarded

If you answered yes to these questions, then:

You are subject to drug & alcohol testing regulations under:

FMCSA (49 CFR part 382) and

DOT (49 CFR part 40)

When Can DOT Regulated Employees Be Tested?

Pre-employment testing

This testing must occur prior to an individual being hired or transferred into a safety-sensitive function.

Random testing

Random testing is defined as:

  1. unannounced,
  2. on an ongoing basis,
  3. spread reasonably throughout the calendar year and
  4. conducted using a scientifically valid method in which each covered employee has an equal chance of being selected for testing.
    • Owner-operators, not leased to a motor carrier, are required to belong to a consortium to satisfy the random testing requirement.

Post-accident testing

This testing occurs when following an FMCSA qualifying accident

Type of accident involved

Citation issued to the CMV driver

Test must be performed by employer

I. Human fatality

YES
NO

YES
YES

ii. Bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene

YES
NO

YES
NO

iii. Disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away

YES
NO

YES
NO

iii. Disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away

YES
NO

YES
NO

Types of Post-Accident Tests

  1. Alcohol tests: 
    1. Post-accident tests must be administered within two hours following the accident, if the test cannot be conducted, the employer shall prepare and maintain on file a record stating the reasons the test was not promptly administered.
    2. If a post-accident alcohol test is not administered within eight hours following the accident, the employer shall cease attempts to administer an alcohol test and shall prepare and maintain the same record. Records shall be submitted to the FMCSA upon request.
  2. DOT 5 panel Urine Drug Test:
    1. The drug test must be taken within 32 hours of the qualifying accident, if a test required by this section is not administered within 32 hours following the accident, the employer shall cease attempts to administer a controlled substances test, and prepare and maintain on file a record stating the reasons the test was not promptly administered. Records shall be submitted to the FMCSA upon request.

It is important to remember, that any driver who is required to take a post-accident test, must remain readily available for such testing or may be deemed by the employer to have refused to submit to testing.

Post-accident testing would not delay any driver in receiving the proper or necessary emergency medical treatment

Reasonable Suspicion testing

This occurs when a company official - based on their training - believes the employee shows signs of drug abuse and/or alcohol misuse.  For more information on DOT required reasonable suspicion training click here.

Return-to-duty and Follow-up testing

This type of testing occurs after an employee's verified positive drug and/or alcohol test result or refusal to test. The employee must take a DOT return-to-duty test prior to returning to safety-sensitive functions.

The employee will be subject to a minimum of 6 unannounced follow-up tests in the first 12 months. Depending on the Substance Abuse Professional's recommendations, follow-up testing may occur for up to 60 months.