The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it is reducing by half the minimum percentage of drivers who must be randomly tested for controlled substances.

The change will take effect January 1.

Currently, employers are required to test at least 50 percent of their average number of commercial motor vehicle drivers with commercial drivers’ licenses. The required percentage for 2016 will be only 25 percent.

Here is the FMCSA’s summary of the announcement:

The FMCSA announces, pursuant to 49 CFR 382.305, that it is reducing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the current rate of 50 percent of the average number of driver positions to 25 percent of the average number of driver positions, effective in calendar year 2016. The FMCSA Administrator has the discretion to decrease the minimum annual random testing percentage rate based on the reported positive random test rate for the entire motor carrier industry. Based on the controlled substances random test data in FMCSA’s Management Information System (MIS) for calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013, the positive rate for controlled substances random testing fell below the 1.0 percent threshold for 3 consecutive calendar years. As a result, the Agency will lower the controlled substances minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing to 25 percent of the average number of driver positions. In accordance with 49 CFR 382.305(e)(2) if , in the future, the reported positive rate for any calendar year is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent, the FMCSA Administrator will increase the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing to 50 percent of all driver positions.

The full text of the announcement is available here. To verify the current random testing rates of the FMCSA and other DOT agencies, click here.