Department of Transportation (DOT) Announces 2023 Random Drug Testing Rates

  • January 31, 2023
  • Jenni Gray
  • Approx. Read Time: 2 Minutes

Each year the Department of Transportation (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)


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



The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced[1] a reduction in the minimum random drug testing rate for covered employees to 25% in 2023. To date, no other DOT modality has reported rate changes.

Employers and service providers subject to more than one DOT Agency drug and alcohol testing rule may continue to combine covered employees into a single random selection pool. USCG-covered employees may be combined with DOT-covered employees in drug testing pools even though the USCG is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). USCG has not announced any changes for random testing in 2023; covered employers are recommended to continue conducting random testing at 2022 rates – pending a future announcement.


How Are Annual Random Testing Rates Determined?

Depending on the reported figures from the previous year, DOT officials may elect to modify their annual testing percentage rates. Testing rates may decrease when the prior positive testing rates of prior year’s show a decrease. Alternatively, annual testing rates may be increased when the positive testing rates from previous years are higher.

As the PHMSA Administrator announced, the PHMSA 2023 minimum annual random drug testing rate for all covered employees will be reduced to 25 percent in 2023. This change directly results from PHMSA random drug test positivity rates staying below 1% in the consecutive calendar years of 2020 and 2021.

If there is an increase in positive tests greater than 1% across a full calendar year, regulations will require PHMSA to raise the random testing rate back to 50%. This effort aligns with PHMSA’s efforts to ensure the safety of hazardous materials transportation and pipeline infrastructure by maintaining a drug-free workplace. Operators must comply with these requirements to maintain a safe and efficient transportation system. By ensuring that covered employees are drug-free, operators can help prevent accidents and incidents related to drug use in the workplace.

When positive tests for controlled substances increase by 1% or more in a year, the FMCSA must also increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate to 50%. For FMCSA, the rate last changed in 2020 when the random drug testing rate increased from 25% to 50% due to a greater than a 1% increase in positive drug test results from previous years.

To reduce the random drug testing rate back to 25%, three consecutive years of positive random drug testing data must be below 1%. In the most recent data[2], 2020 was the first year of “consecutive” data below 1%.

You may view more details of each mode’s annual random testing rate announcements and stay updated with annual Department of Transportation random testing rates here.



[1] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/12/23/2022-27906/pipeline-safety-random-drug-testing-rate-management-information-system-reporting-and-obtaining-drug

[2] https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/61388

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