Employment: DOT Implements New Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations, Effective October 1

09.01.10

The Department of Transportation regulates the drug and alcohol testing of covered employees. While the individual agency determines who will be tested, under what circumstances, and the consequences of positive results, the DOT has a standard section addressing the "how". This is commonly referred to as Part 40. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations addressing when drivers of commercial motor vehicles are covered by the testing regulations, when they are to be tested, and what employer responses are required. But the FMCSA, like the other DOT agencies, rely upon Part 40 to tell them how the testing must be conducted - the science side.

Some of the changes include the following: employers will now follow the Health and Human Services (HHS) requirements for testing procedures and protocols; new laboratory requirements, including the testing for MDMA (Ecstasy), lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines, and adding initial testing for heroin; and MROs will need to be re-qualified every five years.

What does this mean for employers required to comply with DOT drug and alcohol testing?

  • If you have contracts with collection facilities and/or laboratories, be sure they are and remain in compliance with these new regulations. An employer cannot escape liability by passing the buck. You are ultimately responsible.
  • Check to ensure your MRO understands the new requirements. Again, you are ultimately responsible for the proper testing of your covered employees.
  • If your written policy specifically addresses any of these topics, you may need to amend that policy and re-issue it to covered employees.

This does not affect any drug or alcohol testing you may be conducting under Oklahoma's Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.

By Kristen L. Brightmire, kbrightmire@dsda.com

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Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca represents clients primarily in labor and employment
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