Anyone designated in Department of Transportations (DOT) regulations as being a safety-sensitive employee, such as airplane pilots, boat captains, truck drivers and flight attendants, 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 for drugs and alcohol is required by 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).
National Drug Screening provides DOT drug testing and services to employers and individuals nationwide. All of our DOT drug and alcohol testing programs are DOT compliant and can easily be purchased online or by calling 866-843-4545. Easily choose from a one time test or enroll in a consortium program.ORDER DOT DRUG TEST
The Six Main DOT Industries that Require Drug and 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:
- FAA – The aviation industry, or Federal Aviation Administration. FAA regulated employees, which include, but are not limited to air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance personnel, aircraft dispatchers, air tour operators, ground security, flight instructors, flight crews, and flight attendants.
- FMCSA – Commercial Motor Carriers, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 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.
- USCG – United States Coast Guard/Maritime. Connected to the seafaring activity, this DOT agency includes the United States Coast Guard, an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, as well as any crewmembers operating commercial vessels.
- PHMSA – Pipeline industry, or members of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. 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.
- FRA – Railroad industry. This includes members of the Federal Railroad Administration, Hours of Service Act (HSA) personnel, train and engine, and signal service or train dispatchers. Learn more about FRA Regulation 49 CFR Part 219.
- FTA – Transit industry or members of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This DOT agency includes vehicle mechanics, controllers, operators and armed security. Learn more about the FTA, in particular FTA Regulation 49 CFR Part 655.
National Drug Screening provides DOT compliant drug and alcohol testing for all of the industry categories listed above. If you are unsure about the type of DOT drug test you need, give us a call and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members.
Guidelines for 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.
Understanding DOT 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.