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What You Need to Know about DOT Drug Testing

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DOT drug testing is a mandate imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the safety of both workers and the public. It is applicable for employees who work to provide transportation services. If your company deals with safety-sensitive work, your employees need to undergo mandatory DOT drug and alcohol testing

What is DOT drug testing?

A DOT drug test is regulated by the State, especially the Department of Transportation (DOT). When the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was first passed by the U.S. Congress the need for an alcohol and drug-free transportation industry was first realized. This act made it a mandate for DOT agencies to incorporate alcohol and drug testing to ensure the optimum safety of employees and the public. 

All regulations specific to industries are written by DOT agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. They explain in detail about specific ones required to undergo testing as well as what situations and when they apply. Employers of specific industries will need to incorporate regulations applicable to their businesses.

Who needs to undergo DOT drug testing?

Any employee working under DOT regulations is regarded as a “safety-sensitive” employee who can impact the safety of both themselves and the general public. They need to undergo a mandatory DOT alcohol or drug screening to ensure that there are no drug or alcohol-related accidents on the job. Some DOT positions that fall under the “safety-sensitive” departments are as follows:-

  • Federal Aviation Administration (Flight crews, aircraft dispatchers, flight attendants, ground security coordinators, and the like)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (Commercial Driver’s License holders, Commercial Motor Vehicles operators, and the like)
  • U.S. Coast Guard (Crew members who operate commercial vessels)
  • Pipeline and HAZMAT Safety Administration (Maintenance, operations and emergency response executives)
  • Federal Railroad Administration (Hours of Service Act executives, train and engine personnel, train dispatchers and signal service workers)
  • Federal Transit Administration (Vehicle operators, mechanics, controllers and armed security)

What drugs are tested for in DOT drug testing?

Every DOT drug test requires a urine sample of the individual concerned and uses the standard 5-panel test that test for the following substances:-

  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Amphetamines (MDMA, Methamphetamine)
  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opioids (Codeine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone)

When do DOT employees need to undergo DOT drug tests?

Employees need to undergo DOT drug testing for the following situations:-

  • Pre-employment: Before joining a company or DOT organization. 
  • Reasonable suspicion/cause: If one is reasonably suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Random testing: These are conducted on a random selection basis where every employee has an equal chance of being chosen to be tested. These tests are usually held quarterly.
  • Return-to-duty testing: Employees who have violated drug and alcohol rules need to undergo a return-to-duty drug test under direct observation upon rejoining.  They may have to take random and unannounced testing a minimum of 6 times in the first 12 months. 
  • Follow-up testing: These tests also take place after return-to-duty where a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) performs a follow-up testing on an employee for a maximum duration of 5 years. This is determined on the basis of the number of times an employee undergoes testing, as well as the substance in question. 
  • Post-accident testing: Employees who go through an accident that meets certain DOT criteria have to go through this test. An alcohol screening needs to be taken within 8 hours and a drug test needs to be taken 32 hours after the accident.

What happens after failing a DOT drug test?

If you receive negative test results post DOT-regulated drug tests, you will be immediately banned from performing any safety-sensitive operation as per the DOT regulations. You may face other consequences like losing your DOT license or certification. This is entirely dependent on your employment agreement as well as your company’s policy. Make sure that you keep yourself updated on DOT regulations. 

Affordable Rapid Testing is the one-stop destination for all testing needs

As an employer of a company that deals with safety-sensitive jobs, adhering to the stringent DOT regulations regarding drug-free and alcohol-free transportation should be your priority. You also need to make sure that the drug tests are as accurate as possible. Affordable rapid testing offers the best DOT drug screening and panel testing in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. They deliver quick, hassle-free and painless drug testing with a promise of 100% accuracy. To know more about Affordable Rapid Testing, you can check out their official website. 

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