Employers Needs to Know about DOT and the FMCSA

Keeping up with regulations in the transportation industry can seem overwhelming – especially when it comes to adhering to requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Ensuring compliance is not only necessary to keep your drivers and company safe, but can also help avoid potential fines and unexpected fees. One major aspect of compliance is drug and alcohol testing for employees. In this blog post, we will discuss what every transportation employer needs to know about DOT and the FMCSA, including their Clearinghouse and 5-panel drug test requirements.

First and foremost, transportation employers must ensure their drivers are drug and alcohol-free while on the job. This is where the FMCSA Clearinghouse comes in. The Clearinghouse is an online database that tracks drug and alcohol violations for commercial drivers, as well as refusals to take drug or alcohol tests. It was launched in January 2020 as a requirement for all DOT-regulated employers. It is important to note that employers must register for and use the Clearinghouse to perform certain functions, including conducting pre-employment queries and reporting drug and alcohol violations.

Speaking of drug and alcohol testing, the DOT requires a 5-panel drug test for all employees in safety-sensitive positions. The five drug classes tested are marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). The test must be conducted using specific procedures and requirements, and only laboratories certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) may perform the test. It is important for transportation employers to note that drivers must pass a drug test before being hired, as well as at periodic intervals while employed.

In addition to the 5 panel drug test, employers may choose to conduct additional drug or alcohol testing, such as breathalyzer tests or expanded drug panels. However, it is important to note that any additional testing must not conflict with DOT regulations or policies. Employers should also be aware of state-specific drug and alcohol testing laws, which may differ from federal requirements.

The FMCSA also requires drug and alcohol testing in specific instances, such as after accidents, or when reasonable suspicion exists that an employee is under the influence. It is important for employers to know when and how to properly conduct these tests to ensure compliance with regulations.

There are other requirements that DOT employers must follow.  For example, your Supervisors are required to have a minimal of two hours of Drug and Alcohol signs and symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Finally, employers must maintain accurate records of drug and alcohol testing, as well as any refusals to test or violations. These records must be kept for a set amount of time, and employers must make them available in case of audit or request.

Transportation employers must stay informed and up-to-date on DOT and FMCSA regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing. Compliance with these regulations not only ensures safety for drivers and employees, but also protects against potential fees and fines. Key things to remember include registering for and using the FMCSA Clearinghouse, conducting the required 5-panel drug test, and maintaining accurate records of testing and violations. By following these guidelines, transportation employers can help keep their drivers, employees, and company safe and compliant.

Workplace Screening Intelli8gence is a Third Party Administrator that keeps employers in compliance with DOT, FMCSA  and other modes of the DOT.  Our services include:

  • Drug and Alcohol Testing
  • FMCSA Clearinghouse assistance
  • DOT Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • DOT Physicals
  • Supervisor Training

Call us today at 844-573-8378 or Support@workplacescreenig.com for assistance or if you need to order a drug screen today.