What Should You Know about DOT Drug Testing

DOT Drug Test

Each day, hundreds of people around the globe rely on public transportation to get to their destination. You usually entrust the safety of your co-workers, acquaintances, and loved ones, to people who operate commercial vehicles. So, it is our responsibility to ensure that people who operate those vehicles have no criminal background and are not abusing dangerous substances. That is why drug testing is essential to those operating commercial vehicles. 

What is a DOT drug test?

The U.S. Congress acknowledged the necessity for an alcohol and drug-free transportation industry. To implement this, in 1991, they passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act. This act makes it obligatory for all DOT agencies to conduct drug and alcohol testing on employees. A DOT drug test is a government-regulated drug test conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Every DOT-regulated drug test uses urine samples. However, there are some other drug-testing options available as well.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the DOT agencies define industry-specific regulations to identify those who are subject to testing when they are to be tested and under which situations. 

Who needs to get DOT drug tests?

Any individual designated in DOT regulations as a “safety-sensitive” employee must undergo the DOT drug and alcohol test. Any employee who holds a job that can have an impact on their own safety along with the safety of others is referred to as a safety-sensitive employee.

Some DOT departments with safety-sensitive jobs include:

  • Federal Aviation Administration: Flight attendants, flight crews, ground security coordinators, etc.
  • U.S. Coast Guard: Crew members who operate a commercial vessel.
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Maintenance personnel, operations workers, and emergency response personnel.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Persons holding Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), vehicles carrying 16 or more passengers (including the driver), etc.
  • Federal Transit Administration: Armed security, vehicle operators, mechanics, and controllers.
  • Federal Railroad Administration: Hours of Service Act workers, train and engine workers, signal service personnel, etc.

What do DOT drug tests do?

The primary purpose of the DOT drug test is to make sure that safety-sensitive employees never consume alcohol or indulge in illegal drugs while performing safety-sensitive functions. As a part of this effort, certain behaviors are specifically prohibited. Furthermore, all DOT drug tests use the same 5-panel test and check for:

  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Opioids (including codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, heroin (6-AM), oxymorphone, oxycodone)
  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Amphetamines (including MDMA, methamphetamine) 
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

When should a safety-sensitive employee get DOT drug tests?

 You would need to undergo the DOT drug test in the following situations:

  • Pre-employment– Before taking over the responsibilities of your job
  • Random testing– A truly random selection process is used for testing, and each employee must have an equal chance to be selected and tested.
  • Reasonable cause or suspicion - This is based on observations concerning behavior, appearance, smell, speech, etc.
  • Follow-up testing– Occurs after return-to-duty, and the SAP manages this test for up to 5 years. This determines how many times an employee is tested and for what substance.
  • Return-to-duty testing– Required after a violation of alcohol and drug rules.
  • Post-accident testing– If you are involved in an accident meeting certain DOT criteria, then you would be required to undergo this test.

What will happen if you fail your DOT drug test?

The DOT regulations will require your employer to immediately remove you from working on any DOT safety-sensitive job if you fail your drug test. Furthermore, there can be other consequences like losing a license or certification. This solely depends on the company’s employment agreement or policy.

If you wish to undergo the DOT drug testing, visit the 8-2-8 Urgent Care walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA. We are among the prominent healthcare practices offering DOT testing in Oceanside.


8-2-8 Urgent Care

8-2-8 Urgent Care, based in Oceanside, California is a state-of-the-art urgent care and walk-in clinic that provides immediate medical care to all your regular healthcare needs. We are an emergency urgent care facility capable of treating everything from minor illness, like a fever or flu, to the more severe illnesses and injuries such as fractures and lacerations, to work related injuries and pediatric urgent care needs. We have an all equipment ready lab that's able to provide immediate test results and we are open every day, including the holidays.

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