3 Things You Should Know About DOT Drug Testing

Are you new to the transportation industry? Or about to perform tasks that are classified as safety-relevant by the Ministry of Transport (DOT), e.g. B. Driving a bus, repairing pipelines or planes? Then you need to undergo a DOT drug test.

It’s easy to see why the DOT requires drug testing for people in the transportation industry. Everyone has to rely on public transport at some point. In this way, the workers in this sector are entrusted with the safety of these hundreds of millions of people. therefore that DOT second test ensures that public transport operators are free from hazardous substances. But what exactly is a DOT drug test?

Understand the DOT drug test

The DOT drug test is a name used to describe a drug test that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Test Act of 1991. The test was intended to make the transportation industry drug and alcohol free. DOT obliges companies in the industry and their employees to adhere to the DOT test protocol.

The drug test tests for various substances, usually through a drug testing program that follows the established protocols of the DOT. If an employee fails the DOT drug test, his employer must immediately relieve him of all safety-related DOT tasks at work.

Apart from this, other consequences can follow, e.g. B. the loss of a license or certification. Specific company policies and employment contracts determine some of these consequences.

Whether you are an employee or an employer, knowing the basics of the DOT drug test is important if you are in the transportation industry. Hence, here are three things you should know about DOT drug testing.

3 things to consider when testing DOT

Who is subject to DOT drug testing?

According to DOT regulations, individuals who fit the description of a safety-critical worker are subject to DOT drug testing. If you hold a position that directly affects your safety and the safety of the public, you are a safety conscious employee. Because of this, the Department of Transportation must ensure that you are complying with the standards and following the safety protocols.

Here are some of the security related positions available at the DOT departments:

  • US Coast Guard – Includes crew members who operate merchant ships.
  • Federal Transit Administration – Includes staff in armed security, vehicle operations, mechanics and inspectors.
  • Federal flight administration – Includes employees on dispatch aircraft, flight crews, ground security coordinators, flight attendants and much more.
  • Federal Railway Administration – Law on the Working Hours Act, train dispatchers, train and machine workers and signal workers.
  • Safety management for pipelines and hazardous materials – Employees involved in emergency response, maintenance and operation.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – Operators of commercial vehicles with a commercial driver’s license, drivers of vehicles with 16 and more passengers, drivers who operate vehicles with dangerous substances and are obliged to present a DOT plate.

Drugs DOT test for

It is possible to identify any drug through the DOT drug test. However, the standard drug prevention tests for safety-sensitive workers are DOT alcohol tests. Alcohol drug tests include DOT alcohol breathalyzer or DOT salivary alcohol tests.

The testers perform these tests with PAS devices. Regardless of which test takes place, confirmatory tests must be performed in accordance with the DOT protocol with EBT devices in a laboratory.

With the exception of alcohol, the DOT drug tests can also detect all of the following substances:

  • amphetamine
  • MDA
  • heroin
  • marijuana
  • codeine
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • Phencyclidine
  • morphine
  • opiate
  • cocaine
  • MDEA

In general, samples collected for alcohol testing include breath and saliva. In comparison, urine sample analysis is used to detect drugs and the hazardous substances listed above.

When tests are usually done

You will need to undergo a DOT drug test in the following scenarios:

  • Previous employment – This test is carried out before you start your work.
  • Random tests – A random test takes place when the subject’s selection process is completely left to chance. In this case, all employees have an equal chance of being selected to complete the test. Quarterly random tests are usually carried out.
  • Appropriate cause / suspicion – Occurs when a trained supervisor has reason to believe that an employee is using or using drugs. It is based solely on observations of smell, appearance, peace, or behavior.
  • Return-to-duty testing – This test is mandatory if an employee violates drug and alcohol regulations. You must pass before going back to your duties at work.
  • Follow-up tests – Employees perform this test after an employee has returned to work. The process relies on the administration of a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), who determines how often you will be tested.
  • Post accident tests – If an employee suffers accidents that meet the DOT criteria, they must undergo this test within 8 or 32 hours for alcohol or drug tests.


Several other employers and organizations in different industries conduct drug testing for workers. But what is the difference between DOT and other non-DOT drug tests? The main difference is that you can only get a DOT drug test in laboratories certified by the Department of Health and Human Services. On the other hand, non-DOT tests can be performed by either CLIA or COVER.

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