While the absolute number of people failing the DOT drug test decreased due to a lower volume of tests performed, the percentage of drivers and others who take the test reached its highest level since 2009, according to a Department of Transportation report.
The overall 2016 drug testing failure rate for all tests reported by certified labs increased to 1.98%, from 1.85% in 2015, the report said. The rate includes driver random, pre-employment, post-accident, “reasonable suspicion,” and return-to-duty drug tests.
Marijuana was, by far, the most common drug found, with small increases also seen in amphetamines and cocaine.
Drivers who fail their drug tests are immediately no longer permitted to drive. They must voluntarily enter a program for evaluation and treatment for substance abuse if they wish to return to driving. They also must pass a subsequent drug test, according to FMCSA regulations.
Given the nationwide increase in opioid usage, The DOT also notes that they are exploring requiring opioid testing for the prescription medications of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone.
Despite its legality in a number of states, drivers are still prohibited from marijuana use.
Ultimately, an increase in recreational drug usage will lead to increased accidents and injuries. We encourage our transportation clients to take these increases seriously, and to contact us if you need workplace information to distribute to your drivers.