Differences between Non-Dot and Dot Drug Screen

When it comes to ordering  a drug test today for your employees, it is essential to know what type of drug screen is the most suitable for your business. For employers and HR professionals, there are two types of drug tests – non-dot and dot drug screens that are known to be effective in identifying and detecting drug use. A non-dot drug screen is regulated by the company’s policy, while a dot drug screen is mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) legislation. In this blog post, we will be discussing the similarities and differences between the two types of drug screens, 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests, and FMCSA Clearinghouse.


Non-Dot and dot drug screens have one crucial similarity – both aim to identify drug use in employees. A DOT drug test is commonly known as regulated drug screening since it involves the policy of the Department of Transportation. For Non-DOT It is entirely up to the employer to decide the type of drug test to be performed, the detection method used, and the desired turnaround time. Similarly, the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates the DOT drug screen, which is a prerequisite for employers who are looking to hire or retain staff working in safety-sensitive positions.


The main difference between non-dot and dot drug screens is that a non-dot drug screen depends on the employers’ policies, while a DOT drug screen is mandated by the DOT. Non-dot drug tests can be customized to meet the employer’s specific requirements, unlike a DOT test, which has a mandated procedure for testing and reporting. Moreover, when conducting a non-dot drug test, the employer has the liberty to select the testing method, collection site, and the panel test needed based on the employees’ job responsibilities. A DOT drug test always requires a specific 5-panel drug test.

5 Panel Drug Test and 10Panel Drug Test:

A 5 panel drug test is the most common non-dot drug screen, which tests five drugs: Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, Phencyclidine (PCP), and Amphetamines. A 10 panel drug test is a non-dot drug screen that tests for ten different types of drugs, including the five drugs tested during the 5-panel drug test. Plus, it tests for Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Methaqualone, and Propoxyphene. On the other hand, a DOT drug screen includes a 5-panel drug test mandated by the DOT.

DOT recently allowed Oral Fluid Drug testing effective Jun3 1, 2023.  This brings more similarities between Dot and Non-DOT drug screening.  Labs aren’t quite ready due to having to be inspected and certified to perform oral fluid drug testing under the DOT mandates.

FMCSA Clearinghouse:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established the FMCSA Clearinghouse to maintain a central online database of all the drug and alcohol violations committed by Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders. Currently, only DOT-regulated employers and owner-operator drivers can register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This database includes drug and alcohol violations, rehab certification, and other DOT violations. As of 2020, employers must check the FMCSA Clearinghouse for drug and alcohol violations before hiring new CMV driving staff.

Non-Dot and Dot Drug Screens have several similarities and differences. Employers get to decide which drug screen is appropriate for their business. A non-dot drug test is customizable, while a DOT drug test follows a specific 5-panel drug test mandatorily. It is always essential to consult with the DOT-regulated employers and owner-operator drivers before ordering a drug test to understand the requirements and protocols that need to be followed. Knowing what is a 5 panel drug test, what is a 10 panel drug test, and FMCSA Clearinghouse can empower you to make informed decisions about drug screening in your workplace. If you need assistance with your drug testing program, FMCSA Clearinghouse or need to order a drug test today, call our knowledgeable Support Staff at 844-573-8378 or Support@workplacescreening.com