DOT Drug Testing

What is a DOT drug test?

It’s a drug test that’s regulated by the government – specifically, the Department of Transportation (DOT).

In 1991, the U.S. Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act when they recognized the need for a drug and alcohol-free transportation industry. The act required DOT agencies to implement drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees to maintain the safety of the traveling public and workers.

The DOT’s drug screening rules and procedures are listed within Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 40, commonly known as “Part 40.” These rules are published by an office within the DOT: the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC).

DOT agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard write industry-specific regulations that explain who is subject to testing, when, and in what situations. Industry employers implement the regulations that apply to their business.

Who is required to get DOT drug tests?

Federal Aviation Administration: Flight crews, flight attendants, aircraft dispatchers, ground security coordinators, etc.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), vehicles that carry 16 passengers or more (including the driver), or vehicles that transport hazardous materials and are required to display a DOT placard.

U.S. Coast Guard: Crew members operating a commercial vessel.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Operations, maintenance, and emergency response workers.

Federal Railroad Administration: Hours of Service Act personnel, engine & train workers, signal service workers, maintenance-of-way workers, or train dispatchers.

Federal Transit Administration: Vehicle operators, controllers, mechanics, and armed security.

What is Screened in a DOT Drug Test?

DOT 5 Panel Urine Drug Test

As specified in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40 with the Cut Off levels listed in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40; the following substances will be tested for:

  1. Marijuana metabolites
  2. Cocaine metabolites
  3. Phencyclidine
  4. Opioids** - codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone & hydromorphone
  5. Amphetamines -amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA & MDA

**Some common names for the new semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.

When are DOT Drug Tests Required?

Pre-employment, or before you start your job responsibilities.

Reasonable suspicion/cause: This is when one or more trained supervisors reasonably believes or suspects that you are under the influence of drugs. This must be based on observations concerning appearance, behavior, speech, smell, etc.

Random testing: Random tests are conducted quarterly and must use a random selection process where every employee must have an equal chance to be selected and tested. In order to be selected for random testing, you must be enrolled in a consortium.

Return-to-duty testing: This is required after a violation of drug and alcohol rules. You can’t return to any DOT job before being tested and may be subject to unannounced testing at least 6 times in first 12 months. These tests must be conducted under direct observation.

Follow-up testing: This takes place after return-to-duty testing. A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) manages the follow-up testing for up to 5 years, determining how many times an employee is tested, and for what substance. These are completed in addition to other DOT required testing.

Post-accident testing: This is required if you’re involved in an accident meeting certain DOT criteria. An alcohol test must occur within 8 hours of the accident, and a drug test within 32 hours.