2023 DOT Random Drug Tests Decrease for Pipeline Hazmat Employees

2023 DOT random drug testing rates

PHMSA annual random drug testing rate for Railway Maintenance (MOW) employees will drop from 50% to 25% in 2023. All others stay the same.

Each year, the DOT evaluates the rate of positive testing results for controlled substances across the agency’s modes:

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
  • Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Depending on the reported figures, they modify their testing percentage rates.

Below are the 2023 random drug and alcohol testing rates for the DOT agency modes.

DOT Agency2023 Random Drug Testing Rate2023 Random Alcohol Testing Rate
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Railroad Administration
25% – Covered Service10% – Covered Service
25% – Maintenance of Way10% – Maintenance of Way
50% – Mechanical25% – Mechanical
Federal Transit Administration
Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
[PHMSA] 2023 Random Rate Federal Register Notice

PHMSA ramdom drug testing rate is decreasing

Operators of gas, hazardous liquid and carbon dioxide pipeline facilities, liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, and underground natural gas storage facilities must randomly select and test a percentage of all covered employees for prohibited drug use in accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 199.

In accordance with § 199.105(c)(3), if the reported positive drug test rate is below 1.0% for 2 consecutive calendar years, the Administrator can lower the random drug testing rate to 25% of all covered employees.

PHMSA has determined that the minimum random drug testing rate for covered employees will be reduced to 25% during calendar year 2023.

In 2021, PHMSA released new PHMSA Supplemental Instructions for DOT Drug & Alcohol Management Information System Reporting online.

Operators are reminded that drug and alcohol (D&A) testing information must be submitted for contractors who are performing or are ready to perform covered functions.

When will FMCSA reduce minimum random drug testing rate?

Any year the number of positive tests for controlled substances increase to equal or greater than 1%, the FMCSA must also increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate to 50%.

For FMCSA, the rate last changed in 2020, where it increased from 25% to 50% random drug testing rate due to over 1% positive drug test results.

To reduce the random drug testing rate back to 25%, there must be three consecutive years of positive random drug testing data to be below 1%. In the most recent data, 2020 was the first year of “consecutive” data below 1% (at 0.9%). We will need to see 2021 and 2022 data below 1% as well to reduce the random drug testing rate.

This means the earliest those reduced rates can happen would be in calendar year 2025.

DOT positive random drug testing rates in last three years

This new testing rate decrease would affects drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Drug and Alcohol Services

CNS Occupational Medicine offers a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.


For more information, contact us at 800.551.9816 or info@cnsoccmed.com

Please be advised that all articles, blogs and written material are not intended to replace the advice of a physician.

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