Motor carriers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration drug and alcohol testing requirements in 2016 will have to conduct significantly fewer random drug tests for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including certain trucks and buses, and spend less money on that testing, the U.S. Department of Transportation agency said recently .

The FMCSA announced December 21 that beginning January 1, 2016 it was halving the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for CMV drivers from the current rate of 50%, to 25%, for each carrier’s average number of driver positions. The FMCSA estimates that motor carriers will save $50 million in mandated random drug tests on account of the rate reduction. The reduction was based on FMCSA MIS data reported by carriers showing that the positive test result rate for agency-regulated controlled substances testing for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 fell below a 1.0 percent threshold, the agency said. The 10% percentage rate for random alcohol tests required by FMCSA will remain the same.

The reduced rate for random drug testing is not assured beyond next year. The FMCSA announcement said the 50% random controlled substances testing rate will be restored in the future if the FMCSA Administrator determines from data submitted by motor carriers that the reported positive rate in any calendar year equals or exceeds 1.0 percent, citing FMCSA regulations (49 CFR 382.305(e)(2)).