FTA Increases Annual Random Drug Testing Rate

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Effective January 1, 2019, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is increasing its annual random drug testing rate from 25% to 50%. This is the first increase in random testing rates since 2007 and a direct result of positivity rates increasing to 1.06% in 2017.

Per FTA regulations, if there is an increase in positives to above 1% the FTA is required to raise the random testing rate to 50%. If the random positivity rate stays below 1% for two consecutive years, the FTA can lower the random testing rate from 50% back down to 25%.

According to the FTA:

Under 49 U.S.C. 5307, 5309, 5311, or 5339, the 50% random drug testing rate will apply to entities receiving federal assistance, including grantees, subrecipients, and safety-sensitive contractors. The required minimum rate for random alcohol testing is unaffected and will remain at 10% for calendar year 2019.

Under 49 U.S.C. 5331(b)(q), the FTA is required by statute to issue regulations establishing a program that requires public transportation operators that receive financial assistance under certain FTA programs to conduct, among other types of testing, random testing of public transportation employees responsible for safety-sensitive functions for the use of a controlled substance in violation of law or a Federal regulation.

At 49 C.F.R. 655.45, the FTA’s implementing regulation for random testing sets a default that the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing must be 50% of covered employees. The regulation allows FTA discretion to lower the minimum random drug testing rate from 50% to 25% where data for the two preceding consecutive calendar years indicate that the reported positive violation rate is less than 1%.


If you’re a client of DISA Global Solutions with an FTA pool, we will automatically update it to 50 percent before random selections are generated for first quarter. Please update your roster before the end of the year to ensure accuracy of your random selection.

If you have questions about the increased FTA testing percentage, please contact DISA at clientupdates@disa.com.

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About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background check, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.