New DOT Requirements and Guidelines: Everything You Need to Know

November 14, 2018

Drug Testing Articles, News


How will the latest DOT requirements and changes to screening regulations affect your workplace drug testing program?

Over 20 million Americans use illegal drugs.

The United States is facing a national crisis regarding the opioid epidemic. Over 115 people are losing their lives to opioid overdoses every day. As an employer, it ‘s your job to provide a safe working environment.

Studies have proven that there’s a direct connection between drug testing and workplace safety. The U.S. Department of Labor attributes 65% of job-related accidents to drug (and alcohol) abuse.

Their study went on to find that up to 50% of all workers compensation claims relate to on the job drug use. Now, new DOT drug testing regulations are adding specific opioids to the Federal drug testing panel.

For 30 years DOT regulations have been governing workplace drug testing procedures for a number of transportation industries. Truck drivers, mass transit operators, airline workers and more all have to follow DOT requirements for drug testing.

Complying with the new DOT guidelines will help keep your employees safe. Read this article to discover how the recent changes could impact your company.

History of DOT Requirements

In 1986 President Ronald Regan issued an executive order demanding a drug-free federal workplace program. The entire idea behind this decision was to promote public safety in working environments.

President Reagan delegated the responsibility to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Shortly after, in 1988, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published their first set of rules for a drug testing program.

They based their first set of rules off of the guidelines already set forth by the HHS. Then in 1991, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was in effect.

The Omnibus act stated that it was mandatory for DOT to use the HHS guidelines. It’s important to note that the DOT Federal Workplace Testing Regulations affect all DOT-related workplace drug testing programs.

The purpose of making DOT requirements mimic HHS is to provide better standards for testing procedures.

Why Does This Affect You?

If your company doesn’t belong to the DOT industry you’re considered a Non-DOT employer. All Non-DOT industries use Non-DOT drug testing. You might be asking yourself why will DOT regulations affect Non-DOT tests?

The answer all lies in the wording of state drug testing laws. Many states have drug testing laws requiring them to comply with the federal guidelines. The federal guidelines as per the states law are the DOT guidelines part 40.

As you’ll recall the DOT guidelines part 40 were recently changed by “the final rule.” As of today at least 20 states will have to change their drug testing procedures.

In addition, many Non-DOT industries are already voluntarily complying with part 40 of the DOT guidelines. These Non-DOT companies have to decide if they want to update their guidelines to include the new DOT rules.

Name of New DOT testing guidelines

The HHS recently updated the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Guidelines in January of 2017. DOT followed suit by publishing their revised testing regulations in November of 2017.

The revised testing regulations published by DOT obey the Omnibus act by reflecting the new guidelines released by HHS. The Transportation Title 49 CFR Part 40 is where you can find the new DOT testing guidelines.

They call the new guidelines the “final rule“. The final rule changed numerous different aspects of the DOT drug testing procedures. The final rule added certain opioids (not opiates) to drug testing panels.

The new guideline changes became effective on January 1st of 2018.

Previous Substances Tested For

A DOT drug test is called a 5-panel drug screen. The five drug categories in a DOT test include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines/methamphetamines
  • PCP

Moving forward the final rule changes the word “opiates” to opioids. Employers who list sub-categories of drugs will have to update their policies.

New Substances Added to Drug Panel

There are five new substances added to the drug testing panel. Four of the new substances are partially synthetic opioids.

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydromorphone

Another substance the new regulation adds is methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA). MDA is very similar to the illegal substance MDMA. In total final rule adds 5 new illegal substances to the drug panel.

Complete List of Substances

Here are all of the drugs (not just the categories) included on the DOT 5-panel drug test.

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • MDA
  • Opioids
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

We recommend you provide a written letter notifying employees of any updates you’ll be complying with.

Additional Revisions

The final rule also got rid of some of the pre-existing procedures that weren’t working. For example, they have done away with the rule that employers have to submit blind specimens.

Some of the other changes are more technical in nature, like changing the word opiates to opioids. Another major change is the revision of the shy bladder rule. Collectors can no longer use incomplete urine samples provided by employees.

Specifically, collectors can’t use the urine sample if the employee took longer than 3 hours to submit it.

Your Job as an Employer

It’s your responsibility to publish new employee pamphlets with the updated rules. You’ll also want to give all of your providers the updated information.

By providers, we mean the professional collection sites that analyze the urine samples. You will want to let your collection site know that you are complying with the new DOT guidelines.

There is a new Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) the collection site will have to use. If you’re a Non-DOT industry your form will be a non-Federal CCF that mimics the Federal CCF.

You can download a revised copy of the new CCF online.

Preparing for Change

A SAMHSA certified lab has to analyze all DOT employee drug tests. Non-DOT companies that mirror DOT requirements have more options. Here at RDI, we would love to help you with all of your drug testing needs.

We provide low cost, quality drug testing supplies with excellent customer service. Please visit our blog to read everything an employer should know about drug testing.

We would love to help any drug testing questions you might have. Visit our FAQ section to quickly find the answers you need today!

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