U.S. issues new guidance on drug and alcohol testing

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In its latest bid to ease the burden of truck drivers navigating through the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a new guidance on drug and alcohol testing.

The guidance is aimed at motor carriers and drivers who may be experiencing disruptions in testing resources due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the agency said.

It  will be in effect until May 30, when the national emergency on Covid-19 ends.

The guidance is based on information provided by the Department of Transportation about the impact of the emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents, the FMCSA said.

“If you are unable to conduct DOT drug or alcohol training or testing due to Covid-19-related supply shortages, facility closures, state or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments, you are to continue to comply with existing applicable DOT agency requirements to document why a test was not completed,” said a statement from DOT.

“If training or testing can be conducted later, you are to do so in accordance with applicable modal regulations,” it added.

DriverCheckBranden Kearse, privacy and compliance coordinator at DriverCheck Inc. based in Ayr, Ont., stressed that the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing is still taking place and enforceable.

“However, as a number of drug and alcohol collection sites close their doors and Canadian provinces and U.S. states put more restrictions in place, we are finding it harder to actually perform testing that is required,” Kearse said in an email to Today’s Trucking.

“We have let our FMCSA regulated clients know to properly document testing that cannot be completed in accordance with the DOT/FMCSA’s guidance.”

The easing of the testing rules is the latest step taken by the FMCSA to hep truckers.

Early last week, it relaxed some of the hours-of-service rules. Transport Canada has followed suit, and announced its own relief measures.


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