USDOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

drug and alcohol testing programs

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) drug and alcohol testing programs are designed to reduce the number of drivers involved in traffic collisions and prevent the spread of dangerous drugs. However, there are a number of reasons why drivers may not pass their USDOT drug or alcohol testing. These reasons include reasonable suspicion, cheating, and outsourcing all program functions to a vendor.

Oral fluid testing

Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a method for transportation-related employers to meet USDOT drug and alcohol testing programs. This process would offer a cost-effective alternative to urine testing, and address concerns about medical conditions and “shy bladders”. DOT-regulated companies may use external qualified collectors or company employees to collect oral fluids.

Oral fluid is a less invasive method of collecting samples, which could reduce the incidence of cheating. It is also possible to collect specimens at the scene of an incident. Despite the benefits, there are some concerns about the safety of using this type of test.

One concern is the possibility that an employee can cheat on a urine sample. There are also concerns about the potential for passive exposure.

Reasonable suspicion

When it comes to USDOT drug and alcohol testing programs, the “reasonable suspicion” rule is in effect. The DOT is interested in protecting the safety of its employees, and will not tolerate employers who misuse the system. Among the requirements are that a company’s tests be performed by a certified testing laboratory and that all test results be reported in a timely manner.

Aside from the actual tests, a program should also include an educational component. Employees need to understand the importance of the program and how it works. This includes what happens when an employee fails a test. For instance, an employee must be referred to an appropriate treatment facility. Also, the employer must ensure that a random test is not substituted for a follow-up test.


The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has rules and regulations in place for drug and alcohol testing that help keep the American public safe. However, cheating is a real problem and can result in costly reprimands or even a loss of federal funding.

The USDOT is planning to amend its transportation industry drug testing rules to better protect the traveling public. A DOT-certified service agent is a person external to the company who oversees the DOT-approved drug and alcohol program on behalf of the employer.

Similarly, a certified test monitor is a third party that is independent of the employer. An SAP is a standardized process used to verify that the appropriate specimens are being collected and analyzed. Among the many reasons an SAP is important is to ensure that the DOT-approved testing procedure is followed.

FMCSA Clearinghouse rule

FMCSA has developed resources and tools to help employers and employees comply with the drug and alcohol testing programs mandated by federal safety regulations. FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) is a database that maintains records of all violations of the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol programs.

The FMCSA’s rules require employers to submit positive tests for drug or alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse. These reports must be truthful and accurate. FMCSA’s rules also prohibit employers from submitting false reports to the Clearinghouse. This is an important tool to help ensure that drug and alcohol testing programs are being implemented appropriately.

FMCSA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Clearinghouse. It will go into effect in January 2020. However, the rule does not affect state requirements regarding drug and alcohol testing.

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