Every day hundreds of people use public transport to travel from one spot to another. They entrust their lives to the vehicle driver. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that these heavy vehicle operators don’t use any drugs, especially during duty hours.
Thus, the drug tests are conducted by the Department of transportation primarily. Current DOT test practice results from the ‘Omnibus transportation employee testing Act.’ This Act was passed by Congress in 1991 when the government considered it necessary to ensure drug or alcohol-free transportation.
Thus, DOT’s Office of Drug and alcohol policy and compliance (ODAPC) designed rules and regulations for proper implementation. Currently, DOT agencies conduct the duty of testing the safety-sensitive employees to ensure the public’s safety.
What is the DOT Drug test?
A DOT drug test is the drug testing procedure conducted by the vehicle operators by the Department of Transportation (DOT). This test is performed to check whether a safety-sensitive employee is using any addictive substance or not. Therefore, it is necessary for every company in the transportation industry to participate in the DOT drug testing procedure.
Who is required to get a DOT test?
Every individual who comes under the category of safety-sensitive employee has to get the DOT drug and alcohol test. A safety-sensitive employee is those who operate any vehicle like public transport bus, etc.; means a person who holds a duty that can impact both his own life and public life.
Some departments have safety-sensitive employees in positions, and for them, it is necessary to get a DOT drug test.
1. Federal Aviation administration:
It includes flight crews, flight attendants, security coordinators, aircraft dispatchers, etc.
2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
Those persons have a commercial driver’s license and carry a public transport vehicle—a vehicle with 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
3. U.S Coast Guard:
The crew members who operate a commercial vessel.
4. Pipeline and Hazardous Safety material administration:
People coming under this Department are operation, maintenance, and emergency handling workers.
5. Federal Transit Administration:
This Department includes armed personnel, vehicle carriers, controllers, and mechanics.
Following are some safety-sensitive employees mentioned. Includes,
- School bus drivers
- Truck drivers
- Commercial pilots
- Train engineers
- Aircraft maintenance crew
- Pipeline emergency response crew
- Subway operators, etc
What drugs are tested by the DOT testing program?
The alcohol test is the primary test conducted by the DOT testing program. However, some other drugs can also be detected by DOT tests. Including,
- Marijuana metabolites
- Cocaine metabolites
- Amphetamines (e.g., methamphetamine)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Opioids (includes morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, etc.)
When to conduct a DOT test?
Dot agencies conduct the drug tests in conditions mentioned below,
It is necessary to analyze your background before assigning your duty. Therefore, a pre-employment drug test is conducted before you start your responsibilities.
2. Reasonable suspicion drug test:
In case one or more senior supervisors show suspicion that you are drunk or under the influence of any drug.
3. Return-to-duty drug screening:
It is necessary to conduct a drug test before rejoining any DOT duty. In addition, a random test may also occur during the job within 12 months of rejoining. This test will be genuinely random and based on direct observations.
4. Post-accident drug testing:
This test happens to be conducted if you witness an accident. Thus, an alcohol test will occur within 8 hours of an accident and later a drug test within 32 hours.
5. Follow-up drug test:
When you return to duty, a Substance abuse personnel (SAP) will randomly conduct alcohol or drug tests for five consecutive years. It determines how many times an employee is tested and for what substances.
DOT drug test vs. Non-Dot drug test:
The laboratories certified by the Department of Health and Human Services could conduct a DOT drug test.
However, all the laboratories certified by two agencies, including CLIA (Clinical laboratory improvement amendments) and CAP (College of American pathologists), can conduct a Non-DOT drug test.
Types of Samples:
Below are the samples mentioned that can be collected for drug testing programs. Includes,
DOT drug test:
- Breath test through breathalyzer (specifically in case of alcohol test)
Non-DOT drug test:
In a Non-Drug testing program, an employee is subjected to a variety of drugs tests, and samples collected for it are mentioned below;
What if I fail the DOT drug test?
If you fail your DOT-regulated drug test, your employer has to remove you from a safety-sensitive position in compliance with DOT regulations. Furthermore, you may also lose your license or certifications. It depends on the rules and regulations of the company.