The Department of Transportation (DOT) has put in place several safety measures, one of them being a compulsory drug test for all employees considered safety-sensitive. All employees and the general public must undertake a drug and alcohol test as part of the DOT requirement. Most safety-sensitive employees are majorly involved in transport services such as roads, air, rail, and water transportation. Congress in the United States approved an act in 1991 known as the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, which regulates the current DOT testing procedures. This Act calls for the DOT agencies to execute a comprehensive drug and alcohol test for all employees who provide safety-sensitive services. In implementing the process, the DOT established the office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance which set rules and regulations on the procedures to be followed during the tests and the reporting process. The following article will examine the various DOT testing requirements, practices, and policies.
Who Should Do the DOT Drug Test?
The DOT’s main objective is to ensure the employment of employees and operators free from any hard drugs and alcohol, especially in sectors that concern general public safety. However, operators and employees in the DOT department are not the only employees required to carry out DOT drug tests. All sectors considered safety-sensitive employees should undergo a DOT drug test. In this case, the DOT assumed an employee responsibility rather than the titles in determining if an individual fell under the DOT drug requirement. Examples of tasks considered Safety Sensitive include; truck driving, working on a pipeline, operating a bus, train, or ferry, and repairing an airplane. In addition, workers such as security guards and flight attendants also are subject to DOT drug testing. Further, all services that directly affect the safety of transportation sectors, that is, workers or passengers, are subject to and included in the DOT drug test act. To ensure that all workers within the regulation strictly observe the policy, the department has established various testing sites in different cities and towns, such as the Indianapolis CDL testing sites.
Substances Tested by DOT
DOT majors in Drug and Alcohol testing. The drugs tested by the department include; cocaine, phencyclidine (PCD), Opiates such as codeine, heroin, and Morphine, and Amphetamines such as Methamphetamine. Marijuana and amphetamines have been the most commonly found substances, especially among motor vehicle drivers after a DOT test.
What Samples Are Used for DOT Testing?
Urine is the commonly used sample in carrying out DOT drug tests. The urine is used to detect the presence of hard drugs such as marijuana. On the other hand, saliva and breath are used for alcohol testing. These methods used in DOT drug and alcohol tests are non-intrusive.
Situations That Require DOT Tests?
There are various occasions when the employees are subjected to a compulsory DOT drug test. These situations include; post-accident, return-to-duty test, reasonable cause, pre-employment screening, random tests, and follow-up tests.
In addition, all new employees in the safety-sensitive sectors must successfully undergo DOT drug testing. Depending on some employers, new hires might not be subjected to a compulsory alcohol test. Before an employee undertakes a safety-sensitive duty, they must have a negative drug test result on file. This also applies to employees being transferred to a different department or sector.
Further, an employee or supervisor might demand a drug and alcohol test if he suspects that an employee is under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drug. However, the suspicion must be authentic based on an observed character, such as the scent of an alcoholic drink or a slurred speech linked to drugs or alcohol.
Employers can carry out random alcohol and drug tests at any time. However, some regulations regulate random drug and alcohol tests. This means that employers have no freedom to carry a random test whenever they wish to. When carrying out random drug and alcohol tests, all employees must have equal chances and be treated respectfully, considering their consent.
Conducts Prohibited by DOT Requirement
The primary purpose of the DOT Drug test requirement is to ensure that employees executing safety-sensitive duties are free from alcoholic and illegal drug use while performing their duties. To ensure their efforts are fruitful, they have prohibited several behaviors among these employees, which include;
Alcohol influence; employees who are found to be under the influence of alcohol are prohibited from executing any safety-sensitive duties. For these reasons, employees or workers such as crew members, flight attendants, and truck drivers cannot use any alcoholic drink within four hours before reporting to work.
Use of drugs; employees in the safety-sensitive sectors are prohibited from using any illegal drug at work or before reporting to work. However, the employee can be allowed to use the controlled medications if it’s a requirement or prescription by the medical officer.
Refusing a test:
The DOT drug and Alcohol requirements demand all employees undertake an examination and submit the results. Failure to comply, the employee can be prohibited and dismissed from performing their duties.
DOT drug and alcohol test requirement is a significant act that plays a vital role in safeguarding employees and the general public, especially those in the safety-sensitive sectors.