Video Blog: Drug Testing Regulations Trucks and Buses – FMCSA

… FMCSA:  Breadth and Scope of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations

For some readers this article may be common knowledge but it will serve as a refresher in the basics of FMCSA drug and alcohol testing.

The trucking industry is the largest DOT Modal Agency in terms of sheer numbers of companies and personnel that are required to comply with 49 CFR part 40 and 49 CFR part 382.

Today it roughly estimated that there are over 650,000 trucking companies and with over 7 million drivers.   The number of drivers has fluctuated over the years from the current number to almost 12 million drivers although in the early 1990’s, it was estimated to be roughly 4 million drivers.


The drug and alcohol testing regulations are apply to the following individuals who operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads in the United States:

  1. Holders of a Commercial Driver License (CDL) subject to 49 CFR part 383; or
  2. Holders of a license issued in Mexico that meet the requirements of Licencia Federal de Conductor (Mexico); or
  3. Holders of a license issued in Canada that meets the requirements of the Canadian National Safety Code.

There are exemptions to meeting the drug and alcohol test requirements for the following companies and personnel.  These exemptions are:

  1. Companies who are required to comply with the testing requirements of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as stated in 49 CFR part 655; or
  2. Active duty military personnel and reserve military personnel on active duty, or
  3. Active duty Coast Guard personnel.

There are more exemptions of personnel that may be exempt at the discretion of state law. These farm equipment exemptions are:

  1. Farm vehicle operators:
    1. Operated and controlled by a farmer; or
    2. Used to transport food or agricultural to and form a farm: or
    3. Used to transport farm equipment and or supplies to and from a farm; or
    4. Cannot be used in or for the operation of common or contract motor carrier; or
    5. Used within 150 miles farm owner by the farmer,

Another exemption is for safety and/or emergency response vehicles that are equipped with visual and audible signals and are not subject to normal traffic regulations.  This can include fire engines, ambulances, and other types of governmental response vehicles.

The next question that should come to mind is what type of commercial motor vehicle that is or can be operated on a public road where 49 CFR 382 has applicability.  A commercial motor vehicle is a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport freight or passengers that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Has a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds (11,794 kilograms) or more, or
  2. Capable of transporting 16 or more passengers including the driver; or
  3. A vehicle of any size that is required to be placarded when being used to transport hazardous materials in accordance with 49 CFR part 172, subpart f.

The FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations are applicable in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  This does include the states of Alaska and Hawaii. These regulations are not applicable in any of the US Territories or possessions.  Examples would be Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa.

The next article will delve deeper into the FMCSA regulations and the history of FMCSA. 

Owner Operator Program – DOT
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