FRA publishes minimum drug and alcohol testing rates for 2019

Published: January 7, 2019

On Dec. 28, 2018, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published its determination of minimum random drug and alcohol testing rates for 2019 for covered service employees and Maintenance of Way (MOW) employees in the Federal Register.

FRA determined that the minimum annual random testing rates for covered service employees will stay at 25 percent for drugs and 10 percent for alcohol. The minimum rates for MOW employees will stay at 50 percent for drugs and 25 percent for alcohol.

To set its minimum testing rates each year, FRA examines data submitted to its Management Information System (MIS) for the last two complete calendar years.

FRA said that the rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate for covered service employees (employees subject to hours of service regulations) remained below 1.0 percent and 0.5 percent for alcohol testing violations for 2016 and 2017, allowing for the FRA administrator to determine that testing rates should remain the same. Testing for MOW employees began in June 2017 and the FRA stated that it needs more data before rates are adjusted.

It’s worth noting that the rates do not include data from testing for opioids as that testing began Jan. 1, 2018. Data from the testing for opioids will be included in next year’s rates.

The new rates for service and MOW employees are in effect Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2019. It should be noted that because these rates set by the FRA represent minimums, railroads may choose to test above the set rates.

Click here to read the official notice published in the Federal Register.