FMCSA Eases Pre-Employment Controlled Substances Testing Requirements

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is further easing pre-employment controlled substances testing requirements for new hires and rehires.

The FMCSA is providing a new waiver to allow employers to forego pre-employment testing for drivers who have participated in a controlled substances testing program that meets current federal requirements within the previous 90 days of hire or rehire.


Currently, federal regulations require that prior to the first time a driver performs safety-sensitive functions for an employer, the driver must undergo pre-employment testing for controlled substances and the employer must receive a verified negative controlled substances test result for that driver from a medical review officer or a consortium/third party administrator.

This requirement also applies each time a driver returns to work after a furlough, lay-off, or other period of unemployment when the driver does not continue to be subject to random controlled substances testing.

However, regulations also provide an exception allowing an employer to forgo administration of a pre-employment test if the driver has participated in a controlled substances testing program that meets federal requirements within the previous 30 days; and, if while participating in that program, the driver either: (i) was tested for controlled substances within the past 6 months or (ii) participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months.


In addition, under the exception, the employer would be required to ensure that no prior employer of the driver has records of a violation of 49 CFR part 382 or the controlled substances use rule of another DOT agency within the previous six months.


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The Agency says by extending the exception from 30 days to 90 days it will “provide relief from the administrative burdens and costs associated with administering tests and allow them to return drivers to the workforce in a more efficient manner, thus promoting job creation and economic growth.”

Further, FMCSA says the waiver is part of an ongoing review of regulations following President Donald Trump’s recent executive order urging the reduction of federal requirements deemed to likely impede a swift economic recovery from the widespread COVID-19 mitigation orders.

Click HERE to read more about the waiver.



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