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DOT Drug Testing & Services

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National Drug Screening provides Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant drug and alcohol testing and services to employers and individuals nationwide. Contact us to purchase your DOT compliant testing today.


Anyone designated in DOT regulations as being a safety-sensitive employee, such as airplane pilots, boat captains and truck drivers, is required to submit to drug and alcohol testing. DOT drug testing is performed prior to hiring, and on a random basis once employed; random testing is for drugs and alcohol for most DOT agencies. In addition to pre-employment and random drug screening, a DOT drug test may be required for reasonable suspicion, post-accident, returning to duty after a period of absence, or a follow-up (such as to maintain an active status after returning to duty).

The Six Main DOT Industries that Require Drug & Alcohol Testing

There are six main job industry categories as defined in the Department of Transportation regulations as being safety-sensitive and therefore required to submit to DOT drug and alcohol testing. These are commonly called DOT agencies or modes of transportation. They are:

  1. Aviation industry, or Federal Aviation Administration. FAA regulated employees, which include, but are not limited to air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance personnel, aircraft dispatchers, flight instructors, flight crews, and flight attendants.
  2. Commercial Motor Carriers, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) employees. Some examples of FMCSA regulated postitions include, but are not limited to vehicles required to display a DOT placard when transporting hazardous material, vehicles that carry over 16 passengers including the driver, and CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) holders who operate commercial motor vehicles that weigh a minimum of 26,001 Lbs.
  3. Maritime. Connected to the seafaring activity, this DOT agency includes the United States Coast Guard (USCG), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, as well as any crewmembers operating commercial vessels.
  4. Pipeline industry, or members of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). For oil and gas companies working on pipeline, which includes operations, maintenance and emergency response, operators and their contractors are required to submit to DOT compliant testing.
  5. Railroad industry. This includes members of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Hours of Service Act (HSA) personnel, train and engine, and signal service or train dispatchers.
  6. Transit industry or members of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This DOT agency includes vehicle mechanics, controllers, operators and armed security.

Safety-Sensitive Employees

A safety-sensitive employee can be anything from a pilot or flight attendant, to a bus driver or boat captain. As a safety-sensitive employee, there are much more strict behavioral requirements than other industries of employment, and certain conduct is prohibited by DOT regulations.

Employees are not permitted to use or even possess alcohol or illegal drugs while executing safety-sensitive functions, or while assigned to perform safety-sensitive tasks or roles. Employees are not permitted to consume alcohol within 4 hours of reporting for duty, or after receiving notice to report to duty. For flight attendants and flight crew members, it is 8 hours prior to reporting for service that they are prohibited from consuming alcohol.

Some of the restrictions are more common among other industries as well, like employees must not report for service, or remain working, when using a controlled substance, unless of course it is used in accordance with an authorized medical practitioner’s instructions. Obviously, if an employee is impaired by or under the influence of alcohol, or has used an illegal drug, then they are prohibited from reporting for duty, or remaining on duty.

Even if an employee has consumed alcohol the day prior to reporting for duty, if they still have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or breath alcohol level of 0.04 or more, or in some regulations 0.02 to 0.039, then they are not permitted to report for duty until their next scheduled service period. Employees cannot refuse to submit to any test for drugs or alcohol, or, of course, alter it in any way, or adulterate or substitute their specimen.

Airplane parked on a runway

Rule 49 CFR Part 40

The specific Department of Transportation rule concerning drug and alcohol testing for safety-sensitive employees is rule 49 CFR Part 40. This rule specifies that DOT drug and alcohol tests must be analyzed by a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) certified laboratory, and reviewed by a MRO (Medical Review Officer), and must be done on a federal “chain of custody” form.

National Drug Screening can handle all of this for you; so, if you need a DOT drug test, please contact us today. Our alcohol and drug testing centers are located in all areas of the United States. We can also provide onsite or mobile DOT drug and alcohol testing, so if you can’t come to us, we can come to you! As an employer, you may find it much easier and more efficient for us to come to your place of business.

What Do DOT Drug Tests Test For?

The standard 5 panel DOT urine drug test is used for safety-sensitive employee drug screenings. This consists of testing for:

All non-negative drug screens are required to be submitted for further confirmatory testing.

Employees who drive commercial motor vehicles are sometimes not permitted to use habit-forming drugs, amphetamines or narcotics even if prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, but certain exceptions may be made if there is sufficient reason and documentation. The licensed medical practitioner that prescribed the drug must be well acquainted with the driver’s medical history, and be able to reasonably confirm that the drug prescribed will not have any adverse effects that could potentially impair the driver’s ability to safely operate the commercial motor vehicle.

What Happens if I Refuse to Take a DOT Drug Test?

If an applicant refuses the DOT drug test or tests positive, then they will obviously not be hired in the first place. If any safety-sensitive employee returns positive results in a drug or alcohol test, or refuses to take a DOT drug test at all, then they will not be allowed to return to work and perform safety-sensitive duties, and can perhaps be fired.

However, in some cases, employees may be allowed to return to work after they have seen a SAP (substance abuse professional), been provided treatment and or education and successfully completed a negative return-to-duty DOT drug test. National Drug Screening can handle all of this for you. We are 100% DOT compliant, and offer a wide variety of DOT compliant programs and services.

DOT requires are a five panel drug test with urine and a breath alcohol test when alcohol testing is required. In the near future, DOT may allow lab based oral fluid testing and hair testing.

DOT Owner-Operator Consortium Programs

As an owner-operator, you are required by the Department of Transportation to meet certain drug and alcohol testing requirements for compliance. This includes registering for a DOT consortium program.

National Drug Screening provides DOT consortium programs for owner-operators throughout the United States. Our packages include everything required to be DOT compliant, including:

  • Pre-employment drug testing
  • Enrollment into random testing consortium
  • Enrollment certificate
  • MRO certified testing results
  • driver education.

Our DOT compliant programs are the most competitive in the nation. You can easily purchase the package you need online, or give us a call at 866-843-4545 and our knowledgable and friendly associates can help you find the right program.