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CDL Driver Staffing Agencies: What You Need To Know About Drug Testing

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On December 23rd, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a notice about commercial driver staffing agencies. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), a driver staffing agency may qualify as an employer.

The notice addresses commercial driver staffing agencies that employ commercial drivers supplied to motor carriers. If an employee drives a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) that requires a Commercial Drivers Licences (CDL), the driver is subject to the U.S. DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. A driver staffing agency may choose to establish a DOT drug and alcohol testing program. 

If the staffing agency employs the driver and pays the driver’s wages and employment taxes, the FMCSA has jurisdiction over these companies. These staffing agencies are employers of persons under 49 CFR Part 382 of the FMCSRs.

As employers, driver staffing agencies must make records available for inspection upon request by a special agent or authorized representative of the FMCSA. Although, the staffing agencies can choose to be responsible for ensuring compliance with all the DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements. This includes commercial drivers subject to parts 382 and 383 of the FMCSRs and 49 CFR part 40.  If a driver staffing agency chooses not to establish its own DOT drug and alcohol testing program, the motor carrier is responsible for compliance. 

If a CDL driver staffing agency chooses to ensure compliance with the DOT drug and alcohol program requirements, they must:

  • Conduct drug and alcohol testing
  • Provide driver education and training
  • Maintain records related to drug and alcohol testing
  • Provide agency access to records 
  • Request drug and alcohol information from a driver's previous employer

What about temporary drivers?

Motor carriers that do not employ a driver more than once a year must verify the driver’s participation in a DOT drug and alcohol testing program every six months and maintain records. The staffing agency should make this information available to the motor carrier.

FMCSA goes on to define a temporary or "leased" driver as one who works for a motor carrier employer less than 30 consecutive days. If a leased driver works for a motor carrier more than 30 days, they're included in that motor carrier's random testing pool.   

Staffing agencies can choose to add value to their existing services by establishing a DOT drug and alcohol program for their CDL drivers. This will ensure the quality of drivers and mitigate the risk for motor carrier employers. Staffing agencies that employ CDL drivers should be aware of their drug and alcohol testing requirements. 

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54463 Last modified on Thursday, 04 January 2018
Hagen DeRouen

Co-founder & CEO at Screensoft. 10+ years of experience with employment screening program management and guidance. Certifications including FCRA basic, MRO assistant, and professional collector trainer.