Millions of people rely on public transportation for their daily commutes. To ensure the safety of these individuals, DOT drug testing is a mandate for employees with safety-sensitive jobs in the transportation industry. Therefore, it is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s responsibility to ensure that professionals in this industry are not abusing alcohol or substances which might jeopardize countless lives.
Steps to follow for undertaking a DOT drug test
DOT drug testing is a stringent process that individuals working in this industry need to adhere to. These drug tests almost always involve urine testing. It includes the following steps:-
Step 1: Visiting the collection site
A collection site can either be a clinic, a doctor’s office, or any other location allocated by the company and needs to be secure. Upon arrival, you need to provide a valid ID for confirming your identity before submitting the sample. Refusing to produce a sample may cause you to receive a “refusal to test.”
Step 2: Providing the test sample
At the collection site, all belongings except your wallet will be locked away. You will not have any access to water or cleaning products/fluids during the collection process. You will be given privacy unless direct observation is needed as in the case of a follow-up or return-to-duty testing). You will be provided with two single-use clean bottles for the specimen that will be secured with a cap or a protective cover. DOT requires the bottles to be separately wrapped. This test will require 45 ml of urine. If you are unable to do so in one try, you will be given 40 oz of fluid to drink and must not leave the collection site for up to 3 hours.
Step 3: Observe Sample Preparation
Once the sample is sealed, you need to provide the container to the collector. The urine temperature will be checked first within four minutes. The collection person will then pour 30 ml of the urine sample into one specimen bottle and 15 ml into a second one for a separate sample. The bottles will further be sealed with tamper-proof tape. Make sure that you observe the entire process and sign every tape before leaving. Leaving an unsealed urine sample out of your sight is a serious breach and will render the specimen null and void.
Step 4: Sign the Custody and Control form
The collector needs to fill out and sign seven copies of a Custody and Control Form as well as the specimen bottle label. You will need to provide your date of birth and contact number. Once you are done, the collector will give you the fifth copy of the Custody and Control Form. You can make a personal note regarding any prescription or non-prescription drugs that you have ingested lately only at the back of this form for your convenience.
Step 5: Provide Contact Information
Before leaving, verify your name and birth date, and finally, provide your contact information to ensure that the Medical Review Officer (MRO) can call you to discuss the test results if required. The sample will be further sent to a lab for testing which will further be reviewed by the MRO.
Things to keep in mind before and after a DOT drug test
There are certain things you need to take note of before undergoing a DOT drug test. They are:-
Knowing your rights
You have a right to produce a sample in private, without observation unless specifically instructed to. The sole exception is if the collector suspects any discrepancy such as tampering with the urine sample or if you are returning to duty after a positive drug result. Upon observation, the collector has to be of the same sex as you. You also have the right to receive a receipt after the formalities are done.
If you receive a positive drug test, you have the right to ask for a second test with the second specimen bottle of urine. You need to request within 72 hours of speaking about the test with the MRO.
What if you are unable to provide a sample?
Once you reach the collection site, a sample before you leave or risk a refusal to test. If you’re unable to provide at least 45 ml of urine, you will need to remain in the testing site until you have produced the full sample. While waiting, you will need to drink fluids to prior to your second attempt. Failure to produce the same will require a medical examinatio to determine the reason. If no valid reason is found, you will receive a refusal to test.
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