In any workplace, an employee who’s under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous. However, in the transportation industry, drug abuse is even more dangerous. When the person behind the wheel is under the influence, they endanger themselves and the general public. For this reason, the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is a federal agency, has established rules and standards for testing employees in this industry for drugs and alcohol. Doing so is in the best interest of everyone’s protection. 

What Is DOT Drug Testing?

DOT drug screening is regulated by the government, specifically by the DOT. The first time that it was recognized that such screening was necessary was when the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was first passed by the U.S. Congress in 1991. According to this Act, DOT agencies were required to implement drug and alcohol testing to maintain everyone’s safety while on the road. 

Today, the rules and procedures that are followed are found in what’s commonly referred to as “Part 40.” This is Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 40, which is published by the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC). Part 40 includes rules and regulations that are specific to the transportation industry as well as the U.S. Coast Guard. It details who should be tested, when they should be tested, and in what situations additional testing may be required.

What Is Non-DOT Drug Screening?

An employer may administer a non-DOT drug test according to your state’s standards. Oftentimes, these are administered to meet the requirements of being a drug-free workplace, which will then save your employer money. Who must undergo testing varies by state. Your employer will have some say over the testing’s policies and procedures, including who will be tested, how they’ll be tested, what type of documentation will be used, and what happens if drugs are discovered in an employee’s screening.

When Is DOT Drug Screening required?

There are some specific situations in which DOT regulations specify that employees must submit to a drug test. These situations include:

  • When there’s been an accident
  • As part of an employment or random drug testing
  • When there’s reasonable suspicion
  • As a condition that’s mandated for returning to work

You may also be asked to comply with a follow-up test to any of these situations as well.

Comparing Drug Screenings

There are some similarities and differences that you should know about regarding these two types of drug screenings. Under both DOT and non-DOT testing, it’s illegal to try to alter the specimen in any way, including trying to submit someone else’s sample instead of your own. 

While you can decline a test, it’s in your best interest not to do so. If you choose to decline a DOT test, or if you fail a DOT test, you must meet the requirements of the screening before returning to your job. To work for another agency, DOT employees must undergo the return to duty process.

With a non-DOT test, your employer will tell you their policy regarding declined testing. Keep in mind that your employer is well within their rights to fire you, even if this is your first offense. Of course, if you’re a non-DOT employee there is no legal prohibition to prevent you from taking another job.Whether you need a DOT or non-DOT drug screening, you can trust Soteria Screening.

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