What is a Drug Testing Consortium?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires motor carriers to perform drug and alcohol testing. This is essential for ensuring that drivers are able to safely operate commercial motor vehicles. Whether a company has thousands of drivers or only one owner-operator, it must have a drug and alcohol testing program in place to stay compliant and avoid large fines. A drug testing consortium is an association of multiple different companies which form one larger testing pool. This is required for owner-operators or small companies, and even larger motor carriers can benefit from partnering with a third-party for DOT compliance services.

Do You Need to Be Part of a Drug Testing Consortium?

Under federal law, all commercial drivers must undergo drug and alcohol testing at specific times before and during their employment. Motor carriers must follow strict regulations while setting up and running their testing program. Being part of a consortium is not a requirement for all trucking companies, but it can be helpful when there are so many rules to keep track of. Additionally, consortium membership is required by the DOT for owner-operators and motor carriers with fewer than 10 employees. This is because random testing is not effective for carriers of this size, so they need to combine their testing pool with other companies to achieve accurate random selection.

Random Drug Testing

To understand how a drug testing consortium works, it’s helpful to understand how random testing works overall. The DOT requires carriers to select a minimum percentage of drivers each year for drug and alcohol screening. This can be increased or decreased based on the number of violations in the industry. It is necessary to use a “scientifically valid method” for selection so that each driver in the pool has an equal chance of being selected.

If a company is part of a consortium, their drivers are included in a larger pool for random selection. The percentage requirement applies to the pool as a whole, not to the individual companies that are included. This means that as long as the consortium follows all regulations for scientifically valid random selection and minimum percentages, each company is compliant with the random testing rule.

Benefits of Joining a Drug Testing Consortium

Even for companies that are not required to fulfill their drug testing requirement through a consortium, there are many benefits to membership.

These include:

  • A consortium/third-party administrator will have knowledge of DOT compliance and will keep your company up-to-date with the latest changes.
  • Your consortium can help you find a testing site for selected drivers no matter where they are in the country when they are selected.
  • You can reduce your company’s administrative burden while still remaining compliant.

One of the Largest Consortiums in Arizona

HDS Safety Services operates one of the largest random drug testing consortiums in the State of Arizona. We also offer non-DOT testing and can manage every aspect of your testing program. Additionally, our compliance services extend beyond drug and alcohol screening and include electronic logging device (ELD) audits, driver qualification file management, and training.

To learn more about joining our drug testing consortium, contact us today.


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