How to pass DOT (Department of Transport) Drug Test

DOT Drug test is a drug test that is conducted and regulated by the government under the department of transport. It was enacted in 1991 after the US government saw the need to implement an alcohol-free and drug-free transport system. The screening rules and procedures are outlined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR part 40). They are published by the department of transport. The guidelines are industry specific and explain the inclusion criteria and under what circumstances an individual will be subjected to DOT testing.

In case one is carrying out an activity that is safety sensitive as per the US Department of Transport, they are subject to DOT Drug Testing. The aim is to ensure the safety of all those in the public transport network. This may include sectors such as:

  • Federal Aviation: This includes all the personnel involved in the aviation industry in an active way such as flight crew, dispatchers, and ground coordinators.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety: These are people who operate commercial motor vehicles.
  • Hazardous Materials Safety: These are people who transport hazardous material or those involved in emergency response.
  • Federal Railroad workers: These are people involved in railway transportation.
  • Federal Marine: US Coast guard or anyone involved in commercial marine transportation
  • Anyone else involved in the public transport network

Given how large the transport industry is, many people are concerned about passing a DOT test.

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Features of DOT Department of Transport Drug Test

Who This Test Program Targets

A safety-sensitive worker is one who holds a job in the transport industry that is capable of impacting their safety and the public as well.

What the Program Tests

The Department OF Transport drug tests use the same, 5-panel test, and screens for the following drugs

  • Cocaine Metabolites
  • Marijuana metabolites/ THC
  • Amphetamines such as methamphetamine, MDMA
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opioids such as morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, heroin (6-AM), and codeine

For DOT drug tests, only urine samples can be used. This is unlike other drug tests where different specimens such as blood, hair or saliva can be used.

This test is required in the following situations

  1. Before one start their job responsibilities in the transport sector.
  2. Random testing whereby a random selection process is carried out to pick out individuals to undergo drug testing.
  3. Reasonable suspicion or cause, when your supervisor believes under reasonable doubt that you are abusing drugs
  4. Return-to-duty testing done after one has violated the drug and alcohol rule. Here the employee if need be, is subjected to a further six impromptu tests within 12 months of returning to duty.
  5. A follow-up test which is done after returning to duty, whereby one is assigned a Substance Abuse Professional to manage the tests for up to 5 years.
  6. Post-accident testing which is carried out when you are involved in an accident that meets specific DOT criteria. An alcohol test is conducted within 8 hours of the accident, and a drug test follows within 32 hours.

What Happens When You Fail The Drug Test

This is a frequently asked question and to answer it, what happens next depends on your employment policy. Some employers hold zero tolerance to employees who’ve failed the DOT drug screening. Others, however, give their employees a soft landing by allowing them in under certain terms, such as allowing them to work in other departments that are not perceived as safety sensitive. However, one must first complete the return to duty test for them to get back to their safety-sensitive jobs.

How The Test Will Be Conducted

DOT drug test collection sites stick to strict guidelines. Thus, when you are here, you need to go directly to the collection site and provide a valid ID. Next, provide a sample. Failure to do so, you risk being given a ‘refusal to test.’

You will be taken to a secure collection site and stripped off all your belongings except your wallet. Here water and all cleaning fluids are locked away. If a strict observation is needed, as in the case of return-to-duty and follow-up, you will be given more privacy.

Hand the container of your sample to the collector who will then split it into two containers, and seal them as you observe. You will be required to Sign these samples of urine and verify your name and date of birth before leaving. This helps the Medical Review Officer to get in touch with you if need be. The sample is then sent to the lab to be analyzed.

Note that the FMCSA requires that all DOT medical examiners follow a certain specific criteria. This is: collection, testing and review by a medical officer. For more details you can check 49 CFR Part 40, which can be found in its entirety at

Preparing for a DOT Drug Screening

There are a few things you can do before a DOT drug test. First, acquaint yourself with the DOT requirements for your industry. This information can be made available to you by your employer. Next, ensure your medical prescriptions are readily available since some legally acquired medicine can cause a positive on drug screening prompting for follow-up test. Therefore supply proof of the legal medication prescription. Lastly, make available all your relevant medical records as this may be required of you.

Passing the DOT Drug Screening

Since this test is vital for your survival in the job sector. There are a few tips you can employ to make sure you pass this test. You can read this article to find out.

Sometimes it may feel as though this screening is inconvenient, but passing it is rewarding. The tests are useful because they help in keeping unsafe motorists at bay. In the end, the roads and work environment become safe for everyone.

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