Article written by Joe Reilly, President, National Drug Screening
Many truck drivers are considered “Owner-Operators”. The driver owns the truck and the business. For owner-operators there are unique facets of the DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Rules.
CDL drivers on public roads are subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations for drug and alcohol testing. FMCSA does not define the term owner-operator but states on its web site – “The FMCSA regulates “employers” and “drivers.” An owner-operator may act as both an employer and a driver at certain times, or as a driver for another employer at other times depending on contractual arrangements and operational structure”.
What is Required for DOT Drug Testing for the Owner Operator?
To start with the owner-operator needs a pre-employment drug test. For random testing, owner-operators must register with a consortium and participate in the Consortium’s random testing pool. A Consortium/Third-Party Administrator (C/TPAs) is an entity that manages all, or part, of an employer’s DOT drug and alcohol testing program.
Basically, what happens is that all the owner-operators enrolled with the C/TPA as well as drivers of other small trucking companies are submitted into one large consortium random testing pool. The entire pool then is subject to the FMCSA current annual random rates for drug and alcohol testing. For 2020, the annual rates are 50% of the pool for drug testing and 10% of the pool for alcohol testing.
How Long does it Take to get Enrolled into a Random Consortium?
National Drug Screening operates a large national drug and alcohol testing random consortium for owner-operators and small trucking companies. Enrollment is very quick, can be done in 1 day. You do need to have a negative pre-employment test to enter our consortium. If you have one already great, otherwise we can set up the pre-employment test the same day. We can also enroll CDL Drivers into our consortium the same day. Our consortium programs are very affordable – owner-operators or small trucking companies.
How Often Will I get Tested for in the Random Consortium?
Drug and alcohol testing selections are quarterly in our random consortium. Prior to running the quarterly selections, we ask you to update your driver list. Are you still operating as an owner-operator? Do you have drivers that were terminated, or new drivers hired? When owner-operators are selected we call you to notify you, once your notified you must go for testing immediately. This is required by FMCSA regulations. For small trucking companies the company owner or manager will receive the notice of selections for the drivers of that company that are selected for testing. Sometime during the selection period (quarter) the company owner or manager will notify those on the selection list (individually) of their random selection and they must go immediately for testing.
Random testing is just that – random. In each selection all eligible drivers are in the random pool. A driver could potentially be selected each quarter but not very likely. Think of a deck of cards. You pick 3 cards and then add them back to the deck and shuffle. Picking three cards could result in the same three being picked or one or them or two of them – but not likely. Regardless of how many times a driver is selected for DOT random testing, the driver must go for the testing.