What is DOT Drug Testing?

DOT is a drug test that is regulated by the government to ensure that the transportation industry has employees who are free of drugs and alcohol to protect the safety of the traveling public.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the DOT agencies write testing regulations for some industries that require to test specific employees. They also regulate when to do it and in what type of situation.

Supervisors, company leaders, and managers can receive DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training to determine if an employee needs to undergo a drug test and/or alcohol test.

This guide can help you understand everything that you need to know about the DOT drug test.

When are safety-sensitive employees required to get DOT drug tests?

DOT drug tests can be required in different situations. Typically, it is required to be done before employment and allowing the person to start working.

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Other situations could be when a supervisor suspects that an employee is under the influence based on their behavior, smell, and appearance. If the employee violated a drug and alcohol rule, they are required to get tested before they return to work as well as receiving multiple surprise tests within their first 12 months.

A follow-up test will also be required for employees who returned to work after violating the drug and alcohol rule to get tested for up to 5 years. Random testing can also be done quarterly by selecting different employees randomly and equally.

Another situation that requires DOT drug tests is if an accident that meets DOT criteria has taken place. The post-accident alcohol testing must be done within 8 hours of the accident, while a drug test is within 32 hours.

What types of industries are required to get DOT drug tests?

A safety-sensitive employee is a person whose job requires keeping everyone’s safety including their own.

Some of the departments that are categorized as safe-sensitive positions are:


       U.S. Coast Guard: All employees who operate a commercial vessel.

       Federal Aviation Administration: This includes flight attendants, flight crews, ground security coordinators, aircraft dispatchers, and more.

       Federal Transit Administration: All vehicle operators, mechanics, controllers, and armed security.

       Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Meaning operations and emergency response workers, as well as maintenance workers.

       Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: This means holders of Commercial Driver’s License who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles that transport material that is labeled as hazardous and vehicles that carry more than 16 passengers.

       Federal Railroad Administration: All Hours of Service Act personnel, signal service workers, train dispatchers, engine and train workers.

What types of drugs do DOT tests for?

DOT drug tests for cocaine metabolites, phencyclidine, marijuana metabolites of THC, amphetamines, which include methamphetamine and MDMA, opioids such as heroin, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and hydromorphone.

What are the consequences of failing a DOT drug test?

If an employee fails a DOT drug test, they will be removed immediately from their job responsibilities. Depending on the company, the employee could lose their certification or license.

Anzhela Sychyk

Anzhela is a seasoned business journalist with a keen eye for spotting industry trends and a knack for explaining complex financial concepts in a clear and accessible way. With over 15 years of experience covering the world of finance and economics, Anzhela has established herself as a respected authority on all things business.