COVID-19 and Trucking

COVID-19 and Trucking: Industry News for March 25

Selected COVID-19 and trucking industry news that may impact your business.

As of March 25, 2020:

Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Update During COVID-19 Emergency

Dave Osiecki, Scopelitis Transportation Consulting:

On March 24, 2020, FMCSA published drug and alcohol testing related guidance to motor carriers if they are unable to perform a required test during the current national emergency.  For most types of required tests, FMCSA’s guidance states that the motor carrier/employer should document (i.e., paper the file) why a test could not be completed as required. 

Please note that FMCSA’s guidance does not exempt “prospective employees” (e.g., driver applicants) from undergoing a pre-employment drug screen prior to performing safety sensitive functions (i.e., driving).

STC’s Summary

Pre-Employment Drug Testing If a carrier is unable to conduct a pre-employment drug test, the carrier may not allow a prospective employee to perform DOT safety sensitive functions until the carrier receives a negative pre-employment test result (unless the exception in Section 382.301(b) applies).

Random Drug & Alcohol Testing Carriers are required to ensure random alcohol and drug test dates are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year, and FMCSA further recommends that carriers perform random selections and tests at least quarterly.  If, due to the national emergency,  a carrier unable to perform random selections and tests sufficient to meet the random testing rate for a given testing period in order to achieve the required 50% rate for drug testing, and 10% for alcohol testing, the carrier should make up the tests by the end of the year.  Carriers should document, in writing, the reasons why the company was unable to conduct tests on drivers randomly selected, and any actions taken to locate alternative collection sites or other testing resources.

Post-Accident Testing If a carrier is unable to administer an alcohol test within 8 hours or a  drug test within 32 hours following an accident, due to disruptions caused by the national emergency, the carrier must document in writing the reasons why the test could not be conducted (as is currently required by FMCSA and understood by the industry).

Reasonable Suspicion TestingAgain, a carrier should document why the test could not be conducted as required, including information on any efforts the company made to mitigate the effect of the disruption. This written documentation should be in addition to the documentation of the observations leading to a test, as required by Section 382.307(f).

Return-to-duty (RTD) TestingIn accordance with Section 40.305(a), a carrier must not allow a driver to perform any safety-sensitive functions, as defined in Section 382.107, until the RTD test is conducted and there is a negative result.

Follow-up Testing – If testing cannot be completed in accordance with the follow-up testing plan, document why.  The company should conduct the testing as soon as possible.

(Note:  If this sounds familiar, USDOT issued similar guidance a few days ago, but it was for employers in all modes of transportation—airlines, railroad, motor carriers, etc.  FMCSA’s March 24th guidance is specific to motor carrier employers.)

FMCSA Grants Limited Exemptions for Expired CDLs, Medical Cards

Transport Topics

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 24 issued a formal notice that it will not take enforcement action for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30. Read More

McDonald’s rolls out new ordering system just for truckers

CDL Life

In an effort to try to keep America’s truckers fed, fast food giant McDonald’s has created a new Coronavirus-friendly ordering system. Read More

Hotels are offering truckers deep discounts amid COVID-19 outbreak

CDL Life

A number of hotels are working to support truckers hauling supplies during the Coronavirus outbreak by offering discounted (or even free) rooms. Read More

[Infographic] Coronavirus & HOS Law Suspension


For the first time since its introduction in 1938, the HOS law for truck drivers has been suspended on a national level. Read More

The coronavirus trial awaiting fleets: Managing instances of drivers reporting symptoms on the road


In the coming days and weeks, fleets likely could be faced with an unsettling and mostly unprecedented task: Navigating the humanitarian and logistical questions surrounding drivers reporting symptoms of, or testing positive for, the COVID-19 coronavirus while they’re on the job. Read More

PennDOT reopens more rest area locations closed for COVID-19

CDL Life

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced on Tuesday that they will reopen more of the rest areas they they closed earlier this month due to COVID-19 concerns. Read More

Amazon Prime suspends delivery promises; future of fast shipping under scrutiny


Amazon (AMZN) told consumers this past week that its paid-subscription Prime service is facing monthlong delays in shipping due to the coronavirus outbreak and that the company will focus on stocking and delivering higher-priority items. Read More

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