Workplace drug testing is a crucial element of workplace safety, especially in industries regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT ensures that commercial drivers and other employees performing safety-sensitive functions are drug-free and alcohol-free. Accordingly, the DOT has established strict regulations governing the drug and alcohol testing of employees in these fields.
Florida Drug Testing Laws for the Department of Transportation
Florida is one of several states that have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for DOT drug and alcohol testing. These regulations set forth the minimum requirements for drug and alcohol testing programs for employers in the transportation industry. Florida has also established its own drug testing laws that supplement the federal regulations.
According to Florida's drug testing laws, employers must maintain a drug-free workplace and ensure that employees are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty. Those with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) must submit to drug tests before employment, at random, after an accident, and on reasonable suspicion. Supervisors and employees must also be trained on the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse.
What is a DOT Drug Test?
A DOT drug test is a five-panel drug screen administered to employees in safety-sensitive positions who are employed by companies regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Under DOT regulations, DOT drug tests must screen for Marijuana (THC), Phencyclidine (PCP), Amphetamines, Opiates (heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone), and Cocaine. DOT drug testing is different from regular drug tests. For example, even though there are several ways to perform a drug test, the DOT only allows urine drug testing. They also require a very thorough testing process, so results usually take longer to process. A DOT drug test checks for recent use of illicit substances. Each drug has a different detection window in urine tests. For marijuana, the detection window is less than 3 days for one-time use to 30 days for chronic users. For Amphetamines, the detection window is 2-3 days. For cocaine, it can be detected for up to 1.5 days for one-time users and 2-3 days for chronic users. Opioids can be detected a little longer between 2-5 days from the last usage. Phencyclidine has a longer detection window of 8 days.
Who is Required to Take a DOT Drug Test?
Employers regulated by the following DOT agencies are required to send applicants and employees for DOT drug tests:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) - Employers subject to FMCSA regulations must follow strict drug and alcohol testing guidelines. All CDL holders who operate CMVs are required to submit to drug testing at the time of employment, at random, after an accident, on reasonable suspicion, and resuming duty.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) - The FAA is responsible for regulating all aspects of civil aviation in the United States. Drug testing is required by the FAA for employees in safety-sensitive positions, such as pilots, air traffic controllers, and maintenance workers.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) - The FRA is responsible for regulating railroad safety in the United States. Employees performing safety-sensitive functions, such as train and engine crews, signalmen, and dispatchers, are subject to the agency's drug testing requirements.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) - The FTA is responsible for regulating and providing financial assistance to public transportation systems in the United States. Mechanics, dispatchers, and bus and rail operators are all subject to agency drug testing requirements.
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) - The PHMSA is responsible for regulating the safe transportation of hazardous materials by pipeline, rail, and truck. Pipeline operators, hazardous materials transporters, and air traffic controllers involved in hazardous material transportation are subject to the agency's drug testing requirements.
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) - The USCG is responsible for protecting the maritime environment and enforcing maritime law in the United States. Employees with safety-sensitive functions, including mariners, crew members, and aviation personnel, are required to take drug tests.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for promoting highway safety and reducing deaths and injuries on U.S. roadways. Those employees operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) transporting passengers or hazardous materials may be required to undergo drug testing.
DOT Drug Test Requirements
DOT drug tests are required in the following circumstances:
1. Pre-Employment Drug Tests
Candidates for safety-sensitive jobs at FMCSA-regulated employers must pass pre-employment DOT drug tests before they can begin working. Their conditional job offers will be withdrawn if they fail or refuse to take a pre-employment drug test.
2. Post-Accident Drug Tests
For FMCSA-regulated employers, post-accident drug testing will be required under the following conditions:
- Fatal accidents regardless of whether the driver was cited.
- Injury accidents when the driver was cited and required emergency medical treatment.
- Property damage-only accidents when the driver was cited that required towing.
- Employers regulated by other DOT agencies have similar requirements.
3. Random Drug Testing
Drivers with CDLs who work for FMCSA-regulated employers must undergo random drug tests during the year. Owner-operators must complete random drug tests through a program involving two or more employees in a testing pool composed of members of a consortium.
4. Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing
Licensed employers are required to conduct reasonable suspicion drug tests on employees suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in safety-sensitive positions. In private, they should inform the employee of their suspicions and send him or her for testing as soon as possible. They should not allow the employee to drive to the testing center and should either drive them or administer the test on-site.
5. Return-to-Duty Drug Testing
Whenever an employee has refused a drug test or submitted a positive result, the employer must follow a return-to-duty process before returning him or her to his or her safety-sensitive job. An employee must successfully complete an alcohol and drug education and treatment program to the satisfaction of a DOT-approved substance abuse professional (SAP). Upon receiving the SAP report, the employer can send the employee for return-to-duty testing (RTD). Before returning to work, the employee must submit a negative result.
6. Follow-up Drug Testing
In the first 12 months following an RTD test, an employee must undergo a minimum of six follow-up drug tests. During the same period, the employee will also be subjected to random or reasonable suspicion drug tests.
Requirements for DOT Employees
DOT employees are subject to specific drug and alcohol testing requirements. These requirements include:
Submitting to Drug and Alcohol Testing: DOT employees are required to submit to drug and alcohol testing.
Abstaining From Drugs and Alcohol: Employees are prohibited from using drugs and alcohol while on duty or before performing safety-sensitive tasks.
Reporting Any Medication Usage: DOT employees are required to report any medication use that may affect their ability to perform safety-sensitive duties.
Complying with Testing Procedures: DOT employees are required to comply with all testing procedures, including providing urine or breath samples.
Your Partner for Reliable DOT Drug Testing in St. Petersburg, Florida
If you manage or own a DOT-regulated business, you must comply with all federal laws and regulations. There are many different requirements for drug and alcohol testing, which can be hard to navigate. With Fastest Labs of St. Pete, you can stay in compliance with all federal regulations. The requirements will vary depending on the mode of transportation you operate, so our team will help you navigate these very specific drug and alcohol testing programs by understanding which ones apply to you.
Also, we can assist you with creating a drug and alcohol policy, preparing for an audit, conducting on-site drug and alcohol testing, and managing random drug and alcohol testing programs. Our urinalysis DOT drug tests screen for traces of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). Contact us at Fastest Labs today to learn more about our St. Petersburg DOT drug and alcohol testing services.