The following is a brief summary of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration drug and alcohol testing requirements.
For detailed information refer to Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations under the section numbers provided.
Who must be tested?
Each driver who operates a commercial vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce that is required to have a CDL.
As of January 1, 1996 all interstate and intrastate motor carriers are required to have a drug and alcohol testing program that conforms to the DOT regulations.
Testing for what?
(382.107 and 40.21)
As specified by the DOT, the company must test only for alcohol and the following five drugs:
- phencyclidine (PCP)
What tests are required?
(Part 382, Subpart C)
The company must require a driver applicant the company intends to hire or use to be tested for drug use as a pre-qualification condition. The company may not first use the driver until a verified negative drug test result is obtained.
Pre-employment testing is not required if, under the regulations, a driver applicant has participated in a drug testing program within the previous 30 days and was either tested for drugs within the past 6 months or participated in a random drug testing program for the previous 12 months.
The company must ensure that no prior employer has records of a violation of the drug use or alcohol misuse rules within the previous 6 months.
The company may use a driver who is not tested under its program if the company assures that the driver participates in a testing program which meets the DOT requirements.
Post accident (382.303)
DOT rules require that any driver involved in an accident that results in a death or citation for a moving violation must submit to a test for the presence of drugs and alcohol.
What is an accident?
-an occurrence involving a commercial vehicle operating on a public road which results in a fatality, an injury requiring immediate treatment away from the scene or disabling damage requiring one or more vehicles to be towed.
This table notes when a post-accident test is required to be conducted. Table from 382.303(a)(3)
|Type of Accident involved||Citation is issued to the CMV driver||Test must be performed by employer|
|Bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene.||YES||YES|
|Disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away.||YES||YES|
Random Testing (382.305)
DOT regulations mandate that the company establish a random drug and alcohol testing program. The rate for drug testing must be 50% and the rate for alcohol testing must be 10%, based on the average number of driver positions.
Selection must be made by a scientifically valid method and testing must be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. If the company conducts testing through a consortium, the number of drivers to be tested may be calculated based on the total number of drivers covered by the consortium.
Random alcohol testing shall only be conducted on a driver while on duty, just before driving or just after driving.
Reasonable suspicion (382.307 and 382.603)
The company may require a driver to submit to a drug or alcohol test when reasonable suspicion exists that the driver has violated the drug use or alcohol misuse prohibitions contained in the regulations. The determination must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odors of the driver.
The company official who makes the determination that reasonable suspicion exists must receive at least 60 minutes of training on drug use and at least an additional 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse. The person who determines that reasonable suspicion exists must not conduct an alcohol test.
Alcohol testing for reasonable suspicion is authorized only if the observations are made and the test conducted while the driver is on duty, just before driving or just after driving.
Referral, evaluation and treatment (382.605)
Each driver who has engaged in conduct prohibited by subpart B of this part shall be advised by the employer of the resources available to the driver in evaluating and resolving problems associated with the misuse of alcohol and use of controlled substance, including the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of substance abuse professionals and counseling and treatment programs.
Each driver who engages in conduct prohibited by subpart B of this part shall be evaluated by a substance abuse professional who shall determine what assistance, if any, the employee needs in resolving problems associated with alcohol misuse and/or controlled substances use.
Each employer shall ensure that before a driver returns to duty requiring the performance of a safety-sensitive function after engaging in conduct prohibited by subpart B of this part concerning alcohol, the driver shall undergo a return-to-duty alcohol test with a result indicating an alcohol
Each employer shall ensure that before a driver return-to-duty requiring the performance of a safety-sensitive function after engaging in conduct prohibited by subpart B of this part concerning controlled substances, the driver shall undergo a return-to-duty controlled substance test with a result indicating a verified negative result for controlled substance use.
Follow-up (382.311 and 382.605)
The company must advise any driver who has violated the drug use or alcohol misuse regulations of the resources available in evaluating and resolving problems associated with the conduct. Each driver who has engaged in prohibited conduct must be evaluated by a substance abuse professional. If it is determined that assistance is needed, follow-up testing may be required.
Testing must be unannounced and consist of at least 6 tests in the first 12 months following the driver’s return to duty. In no case shall the testing exceed 60 months.
Follow-up alcohol testing shall only be conducted on a driver while on duty, just before a safety sensitive function or just after a safety sensitive function.
(40.25 and 40.57)
The company’s program must designate one or more collection sites where drivers may provide a urine specimen for drug testing purposes. Each site must have all necessary personnel, materials, equipment, facilities and supervision to provide for privacy and the collection, security, temporary storage and shipping of urine specimens to a certified drug testing laboratory.
The company’s program must provide a location with all the necessary equipment, personnel and materials for alcohol testing and that is sufficient to prevent unauthorized persons from seeing or hearing test results.
What are certified testing laboratories?
(40.3 and 40.39)
The company may only use laboratories certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to test urine specimens. Certified labs will conduct an initial test using immunoassay. All specimens identified as positive on the initial test will be confirmed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry procedures.
What is an MRO? (Medical Review Officer)
(40.3 and 40.33)
An MRO is a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy having expertise in drug abuse disorders. The company/consortium must designate one of these doctors as the M3edical Review Officer. The MRO’s primary function is to review, interpret and report test results of drivers and driver applicants. Negative test results would be reported to the company or management official designated to receive those results. In the even to positive test results, the MRO would contact the driver to determine if a legitimate explanation for the positive test exists.
If, in the MRO’s judgment, no reasonable explanation exists for a positive test, those results would be passed on to the designated company official.
What is a BAT? (Breath Alcohol Technican)
(40.3 and 40.51)
A BAT instructs and assists the driver in the breath testing process, operates the evidential breath testing device, and interprets and reports results to the designated company official. The Breath Alcohol Technician must be trained to proficiency in accordance with the DOT model course.
What are split samples?
Urine specimens must be divided into two samples, a primary and a split specimen, before being sent to a certified lab for testing. If the test result of the primary specimen confirms the presence of one or more prohibited drugs, the MRO must notify the driver that he/she has 72 hours to request a test of the split sample. If such request is received the MRO will notify the lab to send the split specimen to a different certified lab for analysis.
What are blind samples?
(40.3 and 40.31)
A blind sample is a specimen submitted to the laboratory under a fictitious identifier. It is used for quality control testing. All companies or drug testing consortiums, regardless of their size must submit three blind samples for every 100 samples submitted, to a maximum of 100 blind samples per quarter.
How does this work? If your company or consortium has fewer than 2,000 drivers that are subject to testing, all blind samples can be negative. If you have more than 2,000 drivers, 20 percent of the blind samples submitted each quarter must be tainted with drugs.
Handling test results
(382.401, 382.405, 382.407, 40.33, 40.63, 40.65 and 40.81)
For drug testing, the MRO will report to the designated company official in a confidential manner if a particular test is negative or verified positive. In the event a result is positive, the MRO will first attempt to contact the driver directly to discuss possible alternative medical explanations prior to making a final decision to verify the result.
For alcohol testing, the BAT will report the result to the designated company official in a confidential manner.
The company must maintain all test records in a secure location with controlled access.
The company must tell a driver applicant the results of pre-employment drug and alcohol tests if the applicant requests the results within 60 calendar days of being notified that he/she will not be hired.
The company must notify a driver of random, reasonable suspicion and post accident results, and the drug(s) identified if the results are verified positive.
If an MRO is unable to contact a driver to discuss a positive result, the designated company official must make a reasonable attempt to notify the driver that he/she should contact the MRO within 24 hours. Once a driver has been notified, the company must immediately inform the MRO.
If a Driver Refuses a Test
(382.107, 382.211, 382.507 and 40.67)
The company must not allow any driver who refuses to submit to the required tests to operate a commercial vehicle. Any driver who refuses to submit to a post accident test after a fatal accident will be disqualified for a period of one year.
(382.401 and 382.403)
The company must keep individual negative test results for a minimum of 12 months. Records related to the collection process and training must be kept for at least 2 years. All other records in the company’s possession relating to the administration and results of the drivers drug and alcohol testing program must be maintained for five years. The MRO shall be the sole custodian of all individual drug test results and must maintain those results for five years.
The company must maintain, on a calendar year basis, a summary of those records related to the administration and results of the company drug testing program.
Training for Supervisors
Each employer shall ensure that all persons designated to supervise drivers receive at least 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and receive at least an additional 60 minutes of training on controlled substances use. The training will be used by the supervisors to determine whether reasonable suspicion exists to require a driver to undergo testing under 382.307. The training shall include the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances.
What is a STT? (Screening Test Technician)
A STT instructs and assists the driver in the alcohol screening test process when the test is conducted with an approved non-evidential testing device. The STT interprets and reports a test result of less than 0.02 to the designated company official. In the event the test result is 0.02 or greater, a confirmation test must be conducted by a BAT using an evidential breath testing device. A Screening Test Technician must be trained to proficiency in accordance with the DOT model course.