What is a consortium pool?

A consortium pool is a common term referred to in the drug testing industry for a pool of drivers of unrelated companies that are placed together to form a single entity or large pool of Department of Transportation (DOT)regulated drivers for the purpose of meeting DOT mandated drug and alcohol testing of its members. Often referred to as a drug screening consortium, a C/TPA, a Consortium or a Third Party Administrator. It’s an association of companies or groups of employers that join together, and pay a C/TPA to facilitate the tedious job of managing a random drug and alcohol testing pool. The consortium administrator or C/TPA updates the pool and manages the selection process. Only companies with 49 or less covered employees may choose to join a consortium.

Consortiums enable smaller companies as well as owner operators to meet the requirements of the DOT mode they fall under as well as keep costs down.

DOT Consortium for Fleets

Motor Carriers with  more than 49 drivers often have their own random drug testing pool, or consortium. That means they randomly pool their own drivers at the minimum requirement of 50% drug and 10% alcohol (as of 2020). They have what is called a DER or Designated Employer Representative, or a DAPM or Drug and Alcohol Program Manager that manages the program. The program manager will use a scientific method approved by the DOT to pull drivers for their random program. The DER or DAPM then notifies and sends each driver as selected to perform the random drug testing.

But what happens when the motor carrier has less than 49 drivers?

DOT Consortium for Owner Operators

Motor Carriers with less than 49 drivers are often part of a Drug and Alcohol Testing Random Pool or “Consortium”. Many of these Motor Carriers do not have the staff to have their own DER or DAPM and hire a Third Party Administrator or TPA to run their program for them. The TPA will include their drivers in a larger pool of other drivers that are part of other Motor Carriers forming a large pool of drivers. Owner Operators are required to be part of a random drug testing pool as you cannot have a random pool of one. When an Owner Operator joins a consortium or C/TPA Pool, then the C/TPA becomes their DER or DAPM and notifies the owner operator when they have been selected for a random drug test or a drug test and alcohol test and must proceed to a testing center.

Sarah Hope is the CEO of Vertical Identity. Vertical Identity is a C/TPA for hundreds of motor carriers across the country, providing background checks, motor vehicle driving records, and drug and alcohol testing services.  Vertical Identity drug testing program for owner operators or independent drivers is designed to keep drivers in compliance, and take the worry out of DOT audits while keeping owner operators in good standing with brokers, and contractors.