The Ins and Outs of Drug Testing in Transportation: The Importance of Knowing Non-DOT vs DOT Drug Test, Medical Review Officer, Consortium, and more.
Drug testing is an important aspect of ensuring safety in the transportation industry. Misuse of controlled substances could pose a serious threat not only to drivers but also to the public. As an employer or owner operator, it is crucial to understand the different types of drug tests and their respective regulations. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between non-DOT and DOT drug tests, the role of a medical review officer (MRO), and the importance of enrolling in a drug consortium. We will also delve into random testing, and the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
Non-DOT Drug Test vs. DOT Drug Test
Before diving into the intricacies of drug testing in transportation, it is essential to understand the difference between non DOT and DOT drug tests. Non DOT is also referred to non-reg and DOT is referred to regulated.
A non-DOT drug test is usually administered by private entities and may follow the guidelines set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). It is used by most organizations and industries to ensure safe workplaces. It typically covers five controlled substances: amphetamines, THC, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates. Non-DOT drug tests are not required by law but are suggested as a standard of practice in many industries.
On the other hand, a DOT drug test is regulated by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and must be administered by a SAMJSA certified lab. It applies to individuals working in safety-sensitive positions in the transportation industry, including commercial drivers, railroads, aviation, marine, and transit workers. A DOT drug test panel includes the same five drugs as a non-DOT test, but it also includes additional ones such as MDMA, MDA, and MDEA. It mandatory for employers to have a DOT drug testing program for their safety-sensitive employees.
Medical Review Officer (MRO) and Consortium
For both non-DOT and DOT drug testing, the involvement of a Medical Review Officer (MRO) is essential. The MRO is responsible for reviewing the results of drug or alcohol tests to ensure accuracy and validity. They also communicate with the employees or the employer as necessary to bring clarity to the results. In addition to determining if an applicant is negative, legally positive or illegally positive, the MROs play a crucial role in maintaining the confidentiality of test results, protecting employees’ rights, and ensuring safe workplaces.
Another important aspect of drug testing in transportation is enrolling in a random drug testing program or a random drug consortium. A consortium is created to simplify drug testing programs for multiple companies or owner operators that take part in a regulatory testing program. Companies and operators with fewer than 25 employees can opt for enrolling in a consortium. A consortium assists with testing, scheduling, reporting, and maintaining compliance with all regulations. It also helps with securing better rates and discounts on tests.
Random testing is an effective way to ensure that employees are remaining drug-free. It is essential in the transportation industry where employees work in safety-sensitive positions that can influence public safety. The federal government requires that employers complete random drug testing for a percentage of their total employee population annually. The specific percentage changes from one year to another. The enforcement agency may adjust it based on the previous year’s violation rates.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established the Clearinghouse to maintain records of all drug and alcohol violations by commercial drivers. The clearinghouse FMCSA became fully operational in January 2020. All employers, owner-operators, and consortiums must register with the FMCSA Clearinghouse. It is required by law for employers to check the Clearinghouse for any drug and alcohol violations before allowing a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle and also must complete an annual check on each driver under the FMCSA regulations. A major advantage for employers is they no longer need to check the past drug and alcohol violations with past emplyers.
Drug testing is an essential aspect of ensuring the safety of employees and the public in the transportation industry. Understanding the differences between non-DOT and DOT drug testing, the role of an MRO, and the importance of enrolling in a drug consortium helps companies maintain compliance with all regulations, simplify drug testing programs, and promote safe workplaces. Random drug testing is a necessary task that all companies must perform annually to monitor the use of drugs by their employees. The implementation of the FMCSA Clearinghouse now serves as a valuable tool for companies to track the history of drug or alcohol violations by commercial drivers. Drug testing regulations may appear complicated and tedious, but in the end, they all contribute to creating a safe and healthy environment within the transportation industry.
If you need assistance with your testing program or need to join a drug consortium or wish to order a drug test or physical, contact our knowledgeable support staff at 844-573-8378 or [email protected] or press on link below to order a service now: https://workplacescreening.com/order-here/