The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) posted its 2021 drug and alcohol testing rates in the Federal Register Nov. 24. According to the notice, the minimum random drug testing rate will remain at 50%, while the random alcohol testing rate will remain at 10% for the year. The notice applies to employers subject to 49 CFR part 655. The rates are effective January 1, 2021.
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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.
According to data from Federal Railroad Administration’s Management Information System, the rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the last two years. FRA’s administrator has therefore determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015, will remain at 25 percent of covered railroad employees.
In addition, because the industry-wide random alcohol testing violation rate has remained below 0.5 percent for the last two years, the administrator has determined that the minimum random alcohol testing rate will remain at 10 percent of covered railroad employees for the period Jan. 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Railroads remain free, as always, to conduct random testing at higher rates.
This notice of determination was effective December 19, 2014.
FRA determines the minimum annual random drug testing rate and minimum random alcohol testing rate for the next calendar year based on railroad industry data available for two calendar years (for this notice, calendar years 2012 and 2013). Data from FRA’s Management Information System shows the rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the applicable two calendar years.