Regulated and Non Regulated Drug Test

Drug testing has become increasingly common in today’s world, especially in industries such as transportation, construction, and healthcare. However, not all drug tests are created equal. In fact, there are two main types of drug tests: regulated and non regulated. As an HR, risk, transportation company, or an owner-operator, it’s essential to understand the differences between the two so you can make informed decisions when implementing a drug testing program.

1. Regulated Drug Test:

Regulated drug tests are mandated by law in certain industries and positions. Regulated drug test are commonly referred as DOT Drug test Federal agencies like the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) require employers to conduct drug tests on employees who work in safety-sensitive positions. This includes commercial drivers, pilots, air traffic controllers, and more. Regulated drug tests are designed to ensure that employees are not using drugs or alcohol while performing their duties, thus reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.  The FMCSA employers are also required to report positive drug screens, refusals and other reports to the CMCSA Clearinghouse.

2. What is a Non Regulated Drug Test:

Non regulated drug tests are not required by law but are voluntary programs implemented by employers. These types of drug tests can be used for various reasons, such as pre-employment screening, random testing, or to investigate suspicions of drug use. Non-regulated drug tests do not follow the same strict guidelines as regulated drug tests and can be more flexible in their testing methods and procedures.  Most employers utilize a 5 panel drug test or a 10 Panel drug test.

3. Testing Methods:

Regulated drug test typically consists of urine tests and breathalyzer tests. Oral fluid testing has been approved by the Department of Transportation effective June 1st.  There are many steps that have to occur before a DOT Employer can start using oral fluids.  Some of the steps that must occur are labs inspected and approved, collectors trained with oral fluid devices and more.  These tests are highly regulated, and strict procedures must be followed to ensure accurate and reliable results. Non regulated drug tests can use various testing methods, such as hair follicle testing, saliva testing, or sweat testing. These tests may be less invasive or more accurate than traditional urine tests.

4. Consequences of Failing Drug Test:

Failing a regulated drug test can have serious consequences. Employees in safety-sensitive positions who fail a drug test are immediately removed from duty and are required to complete a substance abuse program before returning to work. The Substance Abuse program includes visiting a SAP and return to duty and follow up testing.  Non regulated drug tests may have consequences, such as termination or disciplinary action, but these consequences are less severe than those in regulated industries.

5. Choosing the Right Drug Test:

When choosing a drug testing program, HR departments, risk transportation companies, and owner-operators must consider the legal requirements in their industries. If your business operates in a regulated industry, regulated drug testing is mandatory, and failure to comply can result in fines or legal action. In non regulated industries, employers have more flexibility in their drug testing programs. When selecting a drug testing method, consider the accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and convenience of each option.  Many employers choose to randomly test with alternate matrixes such as hair or oral fluid testing. Drug testing is an essential tool in ensuring the safety and productivity of employees. Regulated and non regulated drug tests have different requirements, testing methods, and consequences. HR departments, risk transportation companies, and owner operators must understand the differences between these tests so they can implement the appropriate testing program for their business. By choosing the right drug testing program, employers can maintain a safe and healthy workplace while complying with legal requirements and protecting their bottom line.  If you have questions about drug testing, the right program for your company or if you need drug testing, please contact Workplace Screening Intelligence at 844-573-8378 or