Is Drug Testing A Part Of The DOT Physical Exam?
By Randolph Rosarion M.D., Mar 17 2014 01:09AM
This is a popular question we get often over the phone, or during the course of a DOT physical exam when we give the driver a urine cup for the urine dipstick test to screen for diabetes or kidney disease. During the course of a DOT physical, unless requested by your employer, a drug test is not required. If your employer is subject to DOT regulations and you are an employee that will be performing safety sensitive tasks, a DOT drug test is required. There are various instances besides pre-employment testing in which a DOT drug test would be required.
As previously mentioned, safety sensitive employees are subject to DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing. This is regulated under 49 CFR Part 40. There are specific regulations (CFR or Code Of Federal Regulations) pertaining to the DOT agency you belong to. You should consult with your employer or refer to the following handbook produced by the Office Of Drug And Alcohol Policy And Compliance (ODAPC) entitled What Employees Need To Know About DOT Drug And Alcohol Testing. In it they point out that what determines whether or not you are a safety sensitive employee depends on the task you perform rather than your job title. For exam[ple, supervisors and managers may at any point in time be required to perform safety sensitive tasks, when an employee is unable to or in an emergency. The handbook explains who will be tested, what drugs will be tested for, and under what circumstances you will be required to test. It also explains the procedures followed for reporting for testing, the collection process, the laboratory testing and medical review process and your rights as an employee.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under 49 CFR Part 382 requires CDL drivers operating a commercial vehicle weighing 26,001 lbs or greater to be drug tested. CDL drivers of vehicles carrying 16 or more passengers (including driver) and drivers operating a vehicle requiring placard for hazardous material are also subject to DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing. Other DOT agencies such as US Coast Guard and FAA have their own agency specific procedures and should be consulted accordingly.
The FMCSA has recently announced a Notice of Proposed Rule (NPR) to create a Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearing House for commercial truck and bus drivers. Since employers will be required to check the Clearing House before hiring and annually, it is expected to improve safety, by creating for the first time a Federal database of positive drug and alcohol tests of commercial drivers. Click: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/news-releases/2014/RELEASE-14-02-12.aspx
This is a step foward in improing safety. Results of positive drug test results will follow the driver from job to job. Many drivers I have talked to appear to be in support of the Clearing House.