DOT and Non-DOT Testing: What You Need to Know
Drug and alcohol testing is an essential part of any transportation company’s drug and alcohol policy. Whether your company is subject to DOT testing or non-DOT testing, ensuring that your employees are tested in compliance with the regulations is vital to keep your operations safe and in alignment with the law. In this blog post, we will be talking about the key differences between DOT and non-DOT testing, as well as their respective requirements and best practices.
What is DOT Testing?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates drug and alcohol testing for commercial drivers in the United States. It requires that all transportation companies subject to its jurisdiction have a drug and alcohol testing policy and programs that follow its strict guidelines. The DOT recognizes five types of drugs – marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP) – and alcohol use as its focus for testing. DOT modes include FAA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, PHMSA and the US Coast Guard also follows the DOT rules and regulations.
According to DOT regulations, commercial drivers are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if they have a prohibited substance in their system. Employers are required to test drivers pre-employment, after an accident (under certain circumstances), randomly, for reasonable suspicion, and for return-to-duty. Both urine and breath alcohol tests can be used to detect any substance.
What is Non-DOT Testing?
Non DOT testing, also known as non-regulated testing, is less strict than the DOT testing requirements. It is required by some companies, but it is not mandated by law. It is typically required for pre-employment and post-accident testing, but employers can also conduct it for a random drug test or reasonable suspicion. The tests can be done on both urine and hair samples, depending on the employer’s preference.
Non-DOT tests typically include a 5-panel or 10-panel drug test that screens for the following substances: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, phencyclidine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone, and propoxyphene. Some companies may also choose to test for additional substances such as prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and other illicit drugs.
Difference between DOT and Non-DOT Testing
The main difference between DOT and non-DOT testing is the legal obligation. DOT-regulated companies are mandated by law to have specific policies and procedures to comply with the regulations. Employers also need to ensure that the testing is conducted by a certified laboratory that follows DOT guidelines and is SAMHSA certified.
Non-DOT testing is voluntary, and there is no legal requirement. Employers are not required to follow specific procedures or regulations, but it is still essential for them to create a drug and alcohol policy to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Employers can choose their own labs, test timings and type of substance that can be tested.
Best Practices for DOT and Non-DOT Testing
For DOT testing, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has emphasized that all registrants are required to be registered under the FMCSA Clearinghouse to access the complete commercial driver’s previous drug-program history before hiring a driver. You must also perform annual queries each year.
Employers must also ensure regular drug and alcohol supervisor training is supplied to all supervisors who manage employees who perform safety-sensitive functions. For example, this training involves two hours of supervisor training on drug and alcohol awareness so the supervisor is able to detect and test those individuals that are under the influence of drug and alcohol.
Employers, no matter if they run a DOT-regulated or non-regulated company, should consider the following best practices to promote safety and compliance:
1. Create a clear drug and alcohol policy that adheres to either DOT or non-DOT standards.
If you need a policy, contact Workplace Screening Intelligence today at 844-573-8378 (TEST) or [email protected]
2. Choose a reliable and credible drug testing provider that can provide DOT or non-DOT testing according to regulations.
3. Train supervisors to understand the drug and alcohol policy, identify reasonable suspicion, and respond accordingly. If you need Supervisor Training, Workplace Screening Intelligence offers an unlimited Supervisor Training package for all of your Supervisors today. Contact our Support Team at 844-573-8378 or [email protected] or press on link below to order now: https://workplacescreening.com/product/drug-and-alcohol-supervisor-training/
4. Keep accurate records of all tests, results, and follow-up actions. At Workplace Screening Intelligence, we keep all the data secure for you. When you have an audit or need to retrieve drug and alcohol results, all the information is available to you as needed electronically 24 hours per day 7 days per week.
5. Use a file management system to store all the information, keep it confidential and secure, and store it for the duration required by law. With WSI, our system stores, manages and allows access as needed to meet all your regulatory requirements.
Drug and alcohol testing is a critical measure to ensure the safety of your employees, company operations, and the public. After reading this blog post, you will have a better understanding of the key differences between DOT and non-DOT testing, their respective requirements, and best practices. It is vital to create and enforce a clear drug and alcohol policy, select a reliable drug testing provider and ensure that supervisors receive proper training. Remember that compliance with the regulations can help you avoid costly fines, accidents, and potential lawsuits.
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