According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) who operate a commercial motor vehicle(s) are required to take a drug test by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Here is what you need to know about DOT drug testing. 

Why Do I Need to Get Drug Tested? 

The DOT has special requirements for drug testing. These requirements impact jobs governed by DOT regulations, like trucking and commercial vehicle drivers. DOT drug tests can be performed for many reasons.

When Are DOT Drug Test Performed?

DOT drug tests are required in the following situations: 

1.) Pre-employment or before you start your job responsibilities

2.) Reasonable suspicion/cause. If a trained supervisor reasonably believes or suspects that you are under the influence of drugs. This must be based on observations concerning appearance, behavior, speech, smell, etc. 

3.) Random testing. Sometimes random tests must use a truly random selection process. Each employee must have an equal chance to be selected and tested, but these are completed quarterly. 

4.) Return-to-duty testing. This is required after a violation of drug and alcohol rules. You cannot return to any DOT job before being tested and may be subject to unannounced testing for at least 6 times in the first 12 months. These tests must be conducted under direct observation. 

5.) Follow-up testing. This takes place after return-to-duty. A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) manages the follow-up testing for up to 5 years, determining how many times an employee is tested, and for what substance. These tests are completed in addition to other DOT required testing. 

6.) Post-accident testing. This is required if you are involved in an accident meeting certain DOT criteria. An alcohol test must occur within 8 hours of the accident, and a drug test within 32 hours. 

What is Included in DOT Drug Tests? 

DOT drug testing is different from regular drug tests. For example, even though there are several ways to perform a drug test, the DOT only allows urine drug testing. They also require a very thorough testing process, so results usually take longer to process.

Here is what they are checking for:

  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Cocaine metabolites 
  • Amphetamines (including methamphetamine and MDMA) 
  • Opioids (including codeine, heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) 

All tests are completed through urine samples.

What Happens if I Fail my DOT Drug Test?

If you fail your DOT drug test, DOT regulations require your employer to immediately remove you from performing any position as a commercial truck driver. There may be other consequences of losing your certification or license.

Get your DOT drug test completed and stay safe on the road. 

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