DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Overview

Employers of safety-sensitive transportation employees play a vital role in ensuring the safety of their employees and the traveling public. Employers are responsible for developing and implementing successful DOT workplace drug and alcohol programs that have as their components clear policies, provisions for education and training, drug and alcohol testing, and when needed, referral for evaluation and treatment.

 

DOT regulated employers must comply with 49 CFR Part 40 and applicable DOT Agency regulations.

 

Find out if you are covered under the DOT program by going to: The United States Department of Transportation

 

From the Office of Drug and Alcohol Compliance Employee Handbook click here

From the Office of Drug and Alcohol Compliance Empolyer Handbook click here

 

ALCOHOL AND DRUG RULES: AN OVERVIEW

The following is a general overview of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) alcohol and drug testing rules for persons required to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). The information is intended to provide a general summary of the rules; it should not be relied upon to fulfill all legal requirements stipulated in the regulations. It does not contain many of the requirements or special circumstances detailed in the FMCSA and DOT rules.

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

The FMCSA regulations require alcohol and drug testing of drivers, who are required to have a CDL. The DOT rules include procedures for urine drug testing and breath alcohol testing. Urine drug testing rules were first issued in December 1989. In 1994, the rules were amended to add breath alcohol testing procedures. In the years following the implementation of the drug and alcohol testing requirements, a number of factors including changes in testing technology, and the issuance of a number of written interpretations, required OST to review and revise the rules. In December of 2000, OST published final rules that incorporated these factors, as well as input from the public sector, into the existing drug and alcohol testing regulations. In August of 2001, the FMCSA revised modal specific drug and alcohol testing regulations published in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 382 to reflect the revisions made by OST.

 

WHO IS AFFECTED BY THESE RULES?

The FMCSA rules apply to safety-sensitive employees, who operate commercial motor vehicles requiring a CDL.

Examples of drivers and employers that are subject to these rules are (the following does not represent a complete listing):

Anyone who owns or leases commercial motor vehicles

Anyone who assigns drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles

Federal, State, and local governments

For-Hire Motor Carriers

Private Motor Carriers

Civic Organizations (Disabled Veteran Transport, Boy/Girl Scouts, etc.)

Churches

 

 

WHO DOES THE TESTING?

Employers are responsible for implementing and conducting the testing programs. They may do this using their own employees or contract services, or by joining together in a consortium that provides services to all member companies. Law enforcement officers will not conduct the tests as part of roadside or other inspections. However, under certain circumstances, post-accident tests conducted by law enforcement personnel will be acceptable. Any individual conducting the test must be trained to operate the EBT and be proficient in the breath testing procedures.

 

HOW WILL EMPLOYEES KNOW ABOUT THESE NEW RULES?

Employers must provide detailed information about alcohol misuse, the employers' policy, the testing requirements, and how and where drivers can get help for alcohol abuse. Supervisors of safety-sensitive drivers must attend at least one hour of training on alcohol misuse symptoms and indicators used in making determinations for reasonable suspicion testing.

 

ARE EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO REHABILITATION?

Drivers who violate the alcohol misuse rules will be referred to a substance abuse professional for evaluation. Any treatment or rehabilitation would be provided in accordance with the employer's policy or labor/management agreements. The employer is not required under these rules to provide rehabilitation, pay for treatment, or reinstate the driver in his/her safety-sensitive position. Any employer who does decide to return a driver to safety-sensitive duties must ensure that the driver: 1) has been evaluated by a substance abuse professional; 2) has complied with any recommended treatment; 3) has taken a return-to-duty alcohol test (with a result less than 0.02); and 4) is subject to unannounced follow-up alcohol tests.

 

HOW WILL THE FMCSA KNOW IF THESE RULES ARE BEING FOLLOWED?

Employers are required to keep detailed records of their alcohol misuse prevention programs. The FMCSA will conduct inspections or audits of employers' programs. Additionally, selected employers will have to prepare annual calendar year summary reports for the FMCSA. These reports will be used to help monitor compliance and enforcement of the rules, as well as to provide data on the extent of alcohol misuse and the need for any future program and regulatory changes.

 

WILL FOREIGN OPERATORS HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THESE RULES?

Yes. The FMCSA requires foreign motor carriers to comply with the alcohol rules when their drivers operate in the United States.

 

 

2013 DOT Random Testing Rates

 

The following chart outlines the annual minimum drug and alcohol random testing rates established within DOT Agencies and the USCG for 2013.

DOT Agencies

2013 Random Drug Testing Rate

2013 Random Alcohol Testing Rate

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration[FMCSA]

     50%

      10%

Federal Aviation Administration[FAA]                                        

     25%

      10%

Federal Railroad Administration[FRA]

     25%

      10%

Federal Transit Administration[FTA]

     25%

      10%

Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration[PHMSA]

     25%

      N/A

United States Coast Guard

[USCG]

(now with the Dept. of Homeland Security)

 

     25%

      N/A

NOTE: Employers (and C/TPAs) subject to more than one DOT Agency drug and alcohol testing rule may continue to combine covered employees into a single random selection pool. However, companies (and C/TPAs) doing so must test at or above the highest minimum annual random testing rates established by the DOT Agencies under whose jurisdiction they fall. For example, an employer having both FMCSA- and FRA-covered employees in one pool must test, as a minimum rate, 50% for drugs and 10% for alcohol. PHMSA- and USCG-regulated employees should not to be placed in DOT random alcohol testing pools. Contact the appropriate DOT Agency for additional clarification.

[Please note that USCG covered employees may be combined with DOT covered employees in drug testing pools even though the USCG is now part of the Department of Homeland Security.]

 

 

 

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