Editorial

5 Things To Know About DoT Drug Testing


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Safety is the foremost priority in all work disciplines. If you are a school bus driver, truck driver, ship or train operator, pipeline worker, security personnel, or aircraft maintenance crew, you have occupational safety standards to follow. However, working in safety-sensitive businesses under drug and alcohol influence can risk your and passengers’ safety.

The DoT testing is a US Government-authorized test done on workforce operating in sensitive situations to ensure they are 100 percent drug and alcohol-free. Certainly, it is an enormous challenge for employers and administrators to monitor workers in sensitive professions like transportation and minimize human risk. That’s why the US transportation industry’s DoT Drug Test is a sensible attempt to reduce the accidents and crashes frequency related to alcohol and drug consumption. Here are more details on DoT Drug Testing promoting safety rules and urgency in front liner transport workers.

What Is DoT?

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For those new to the DoT, it stands for Department of Transportation. The DoT-directed drug and alcohol testing passed by the U.S. Congress in 1991 addressed the pressing need for a drug and alcohol-free transportation industry. The Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC) published the rules and procedures of the dot drug test.

The US Coast Guard and DoT agencies lay down specific rules enlisting who is subject to the test, when, and in which situation. Relevant employers follow these regulations, upholding their support for transportation safety rules.

Who Should Go In For The DoT Test?

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Any safety-sensitive employee under DoT regulations is subject to a Drug and Alcohol test. An overview of the job streams that qualify for the DoT test summarized below:

  • Aviation: Flight squad comprising pilots, attendants, instructors, air traffic controllers, preventative maintenance staff, and related crew under contract to the U.S. military.
  • Railroad: Train and engine staff, signal service workers.
  • Maritime: Commercial vessel crew.
  • Pipeline: Operations, maintenance, emergency response workers.
  • Transit: Vehicle operators, mechanics, controllers, armed security personnel.
  • Commercial Motor Carriers: Commercial Drivers’ License holders operating Commercial Motor Vehicles or those carrying over 16 passengers and/or transporting hazardous material.

What Tests Happen In A DoT Test?

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A DoT drug and alcohol test is an illicit habit prevention tactic for a safety-sensitive workforce. An alcohol test requires breath and saliva specimens, and a drug test requires urine samples. The DoT drug test screening detects any of the following substances in the body:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA (clinically called 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and popularly called ecstasy)
  • MDEA
  • MDA
  • Opiates/Morphine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

When To Get DoT Tests?

Pre-employment workers and staff, before starting their duty, should undergo a DoT drug test. Here are some situations that cause the need for a DoT drug test:

Suspicion: If higher-ups suspect you are under drug influence. Your smelling mouth, walking and talking mannerisms, overall behavior, and other signs like your appearance and clothes can create enough doubt on your drinking habits and drug abuse.

Random testing: Each employee should get an even chance to get drug-tested every quarter. It reinforces employee safety and rules out any guesses or predictions of drug or alcohol intake while on duty.

Return-to-duty testing: Infringement of drug and alcohol rules in a safety-sensitive job creates the need for this test conducted under authority supervision. You cannot return to any DoT job without getting drug-and-alcohol tested. Spontaneous employee testing can happen a minimum of six times over twelve months in this situation.

Follow-up testing: A follow-up test happens after a return-to-duty test supervised by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for up to five years. Such a test helps find out the number of times a safety-sensitive employee tested and for what substance. A follow-up test happens with other DoT tests.

Post-accident testing: This test is mandatory for those involved in an accident under the realm of DoT criteria. The safety workers’ test timings vary for drugs and alcohol. An alcohol test is compulsory within eight hours of the accident, whereas a drug test is binding within thirty-two hours.   

What If You Fail Your DoT Test?

You can face dire consequences if you fail your DoT Drug test. Your employer can straightaway remove you from doing any safety-sensitive tasks as per the DoT guidelines. You may also lose your license or certification, depending on your company’s employment policy and contract.

Final Thoughts:

If you are a new hire in safety-sensitive tasks, a DoT drug test is a crucial document to submit. Your negative alcohol and drug report can convince your existing and prospective employer to continue assigning your industry-specific assignments. Your track record can encourage your employer to transfer you from handling non-safety-sensitive assignments to safety-sensitive functions.

The drug and alcohol testing results are confidential. Employers do not have the privilege to divulge your results to outside parties without your written consent. Your test results may get released without your knowledge in certain situations, like grievances and legal proceedings. If you are suffering from depression, you may try to self-medicate through alcohol or drug consumption. Get the services of a mental health professional for proper rehabilitation and treatment. Potent drug and alcohol testing programs like DoT and treatment recommendations can make the traveling public a lot safer.

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