DOT and Non-DOT Drug Panels

DOT and Non-DOT Drug Panels

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment for your employees. One of the ways to do this is by conducting drug tests for potential and existing employees. If you’re in a transportation company and regulated by the DOT, you’re required by law to conduct DOT drug screenings. However, selecting the right type of drug panel can be confusing. In this guide, we’ll break down the differences between DOT and non DOT drug panels, and the key things you need to know about 5 panel and 10 panel drug tests.

What is a DOT Drug Screen?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees, including commercial drivers, pilots, and train engineers. DOT drug tests are highly regulated and follow strict guidelines. The DOT only permits a 5-panel drug test for its drug screenings, which includes testing for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).

What is a Non-DOT Drug Test?

Non DOT drug tests are those that aren’t regulated by the DOT and might include additional substances for testing. However, it’s essential to know that while a non-DOT drug test isn’t mandatory, an employer might still be held liable for an incident, especially if it might have been avoided through drug testing.

What is a 5-Panel Drug Test?

A 5-panel drug test is one of the most common drug tests required by companies. It tests for the five substances prohibited by DOT regulations, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). Employers use 5-panel drug tests as a basic screening tool to identify safety risks. DOT-regulated companies can only conduct 5-panel drug tests.

What is a 10-Panel Drug Test?

A 10-panel drug test is another common drug test that includes ten substances, unlike a 5-panel drug test that tests for five. A 10-panel drug test includes testing for barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene in addition to the five-panel drug test substances. The 10 panel test is commonly used where there is a need for a more comprehensive drug screening, and where safety is the highest priority.

Can I test for more than 10 Drugs?

Yes you can.  Many Health Care employers test for Fentanyl, Meperidine, Tramadol and other drugs that are commonly abused by Healthcare Professionals.  Other employers may test for Synthetic Marijuana or Kratom.  Many employers will only perform the extra drugs on reasonable suspicion while other employers will test randomly or pre-employment test.

Drug testing is a vital aspect of ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Employers must select the correct drug panels for testing their employees, and it isn’t just a DOT drug test or a non-DOT drug test. Depending on the nature of the work and the degree of safety risk, employers should choose either a 5-panel or 10-panel drug test or more. Remember that while DOT drug tests are the most regulated, a non-DOT drug test might be necessary to get a comprehensive screening. To create a drug-free workplace, choose the right type of drug panel for your company.  If you need assistance with your drug testing or need to order a drug test today.  Contact Workplace Screening at 844-573-8378 or  We can also assist with FMCSA Clearinghouse, DOT Physicals and non DOT Physicals.