What is the DOT testing process?
DOT safety-sensitive employees are subject to testing for drugs and alcohol. If an employee is selected for a drug and/or alcohol test, they will be required to give a urine sample at a designated authorized collection site using collection kits that are in strict compliance with DOT regulations. Only the employee is allowed to be at the collection site at the time of urine collection. Subsequently the sample will be sent to the laboratory along with the Custody and Control Form (CCF) as regulated by the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC).
When is someone required to take a DOT Drug Test?
There are several situations when an employee is required to submit to a DOT drug test. Only after receiving a negative result will an employee be allowed to perform safety-sensitive duties.
- Pre-employment: Prior to assuming any safety-sensitive duties at a new employment, the employer must receive a negative drug and alcohol* test result.
*Employers may conduct a pre-employment alcohol test, but are not required to do so. Employers should check their DOT policy and DOT agency regulations for further information on pre-employment alcohol testing.
- Reasonable suspicion: If an employer has reasonable suspicion based on contemporaneous, articulable observations of employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, or smell, the employee is required to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test.
- Random testing: Unannounced testing is performed through a random selection process with each employee having an equal chance of being selected. The employee will be notified that he/she was randomly selected and enough time will be provided for the employee to stop performing safety-sensitive functions and go to the collection site. Failure to show for a test can be considered a refusal to test and can have the same consequences as a verified positive result.
- Return-to-duty testing: If you test positive on a DOT drug/alcohol test or have a DOT drug/alcohol violation, you are required to successfully complete the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) portion of the return-to-duty process prior to having an observed return-to-duty test to become eligible to return to safety sensitive functions under any DOT Agency. You will also be subject to follow-up testing based on the SAP’s follow-up recommendations to the employer.
- Follow-up testing: After completing the return-to-duty process with a qualified DOT SAP, the SAP will provide the employer follow-up recommendations on how many follow-up tests the employee will be required to perform in addition to other required DOT testing. All follow-up tests are unannounced and observed to the employee.
- Post-accident testing: If an employee is involved in an event that meets certain criteria of the DOT, i.e. accident, crash, etc., he/she is required to remain available to take a DOT drug and alcohol test and is not permitted to refuse the test.
Are DOT Drug Tests supervised?
DOT drug tests are only required to be observed when:
- The temperature of the specimen is outside of acceptable range
- The specimen shows signs of tampering
- The collector finds an item brought by the employee which appears to have been brought to the site for the purpose of contamination or subversion of the specimen
- The test is a follow-up or a return-to-duty test
- The Medical Review Officer orders direct observation
In the event that direct observation is required, the observer must be the same gender as the employee. If the collector is not the observer, the collector must instruct the observer about the procedures for checking the employee for devices and how to watch the employee urinate into the collection container.
What drugs are screened for in the DOT test?
The DOT Drug Test consists of a 5-panel drug test, which includes:
- Marijuana metabolites (THCA)
- Cocaine metabolites
- Amphetamines/Methamphetamine (including MDMA/MDA)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
DOT and Marijuana
The DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC), have formally provided notice that “recreational and medical marijuana” are not permissible for safety-sensitive workers following under the DOT guidelines. ODAPC has also provided notice on Cannabidiol (CBD) products. The DOT requires testing on marijuana THCA metabolites and not CBD. CBD product labeling may be misleading and contain higher levels of THC, which could result in a verified positive drug test. CBD products are NOT currently certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have issued caution to the public: “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.” The DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation–49 CFR Part 40—does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. Regardless of state law or companies with products containing more CBD than indicated on the labeling. Therefore, Medical Review Officers (MROs) will NOT verify a drug test as negative.