Frequently Asked Questions
This section provides general responses to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) by the public. These FAQs compiled by the staff of the Office for Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) would not substitute for the regulations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) 49 CFR Part 40, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) or other agencies under the DOT. For more information on the DOT drug and alcohol testing program rules, kindly refer to the regulatory text.
The DOT rules and regulations cover every transportation safety-related concerns for both employers and employees. Each agency under the DOT has specific regulations on drug and alcohol testing (Click here). You may follow this link to determine whether or not you are covered by the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations.
The DOT 49 CFR Part 40, commonly referred to as "Part 40" covers the following:
How drug and alcohol testing is conducted,
Who are the ones authorized to participate in the drug and alcohol testing program, and
The protocols the employees must follow before they may return to duty if they have committed a drug and/or alcohol related violation.
The specific regulations of the USCG and the agencies under DOT state:
The prohibitions of drug and alcohol use,
Who are the ones covered in these regulations,
What tests are authorized,
When these tests are authorized, and
The sanctions for non-compliance.
In general, the DOT 49 CFR Part 40 is the rule that is being incorporated and enforced in the regulations of the USCG and the agencies under the DOT.
The hiring, termination or other employment procedures are not addressed by the rules and regulations of the DOT. It is in the sole discretion of the employer whether it may cause the termination of its employee or not. The employer may base this decision as per the company policy or its collective bargaining agreements.
The employee will be prohibited to perform safety-sensitive duties for any employer regulated by the DOT if he: 1) tested positive, 2) refuse to undergo these tests or 3) choose to adulterate the tests. The employee must first be observed by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and must first duly accomplish the return-to-duty process whereby a federal return-to-duty drug and alcohol test should be taken.
The employer must provide the employees a list of qualified SAPs under DOT 49 CFR Part 40 Section 40.281. As stated in the Part 40 Section 40.287, the employer is required to provide the employee with a list of qualified SAPs. Failure to provide this list could result in sanctions issued by the DOT Modal Administration under its jurisdiction. The employee has the right to ask his employer for a list of SAPs nearby regardless if the employer chose to terminate him. In the event that the employer did not provide the list of qualified SAPs to the employee, he may refer to this link.
The DOT regulations do not state who will be responsible for these fees. It may be based on the agreement between the employer and its employees and applicants. However, the employer may not refrain from sending split specimen for testing because employees or applicants do not pay for these tests in advance.
The regulations neither authorize the DOT to certify service agents nor offer certificates for participants in its drug and alcohol testing program. The regulations only require service agents to meet the qualification and training outlined in 49 CFR Part 40 and provide the supporting documents proving these qualifications. The laboratories authorized to participate in the drug and alcohol testing program of the DOT should be certified by the Department of Health and Human Services under the National Laboratory Certification Program.
While ODAPC does not maintain a database of the lists of courses or training sessions for service agents, this link might be useful. Some resources may be found in various Internet websites supported by national associations and other transportation related service agents.
ODAPC does not maintain a database for the list of qualified service agents. However, the Department of Health and Human Services regularly publishes a list of certified laboratories on a monthly basis. It is the responsibility of the employer, in compliance with the drug and alcohol testing regulations of the DOT, to verify and ensure that the service agent meets the required qualifications prior its designation.
Part 40 Section 391.41 (b), 12 (i) and (ii) state the following: (12)(i) Does not use any drug or substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or other habit-forming drug. (ii) Does not use any non-Schedule I drug or substance that is identified in the other Schedules in 21 part 1308 except when the use is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, as defined in § 382.107, who is familiar with the driver's medical history and has advised the driver that the substance will not adversely affect the driver's ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. Medical Examiners are required to give careful consideration to the effects of medications on the ability of a driver to operate a CMV safely before certifying the driver qualified.
For more information on specific drugs and CMV driver qualification, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Medical Program website.