Drug & Alcohol FAQ's

Here are some common questions we are frequently asked. Contact our qualified staff to assist with any other questions you may have. Visit our Terms and Definitions for further explanations.

     The minimum annual DOT drug testing rates are as follows:

DOT Operating Administration
(As of January 1, 2016)

Random Drug Testing Rate

Random Alcohol Testing Rate

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

25%

10%

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

25%

10%

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

25%

10%

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

25%

10%

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

25%

Not Applicable

Unites States Coast Guard (USCG)

25%

Not Applicable

  1. What tests are required under DOT guidelines?
    Pre-employment, Reasonable Suspicion, Random, Post Accident, Return to Duty and Follow-up.
     
  2. Can an employer wishing to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing do so?
    A DOT-regulated employer (except under USCG & RSPA rules) wishing to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing under DOT authority may do so if the testing is conducted for all employees (cannot select some applicants and not others) and must be conducted as a post-offer requirement (the employer needs to inform the applicant that he or she has the job if he or she passes a DOT alcohol test). 
     
  3. Must a DOT-regulated employer check on the drug and alcohol testing record of employees it is intending to use to perform safety-sensitive duties?
    Yes, as an employer, you must, after obtaining an employee's written consent, request the following information about the employee: alcohol tests with a result of 0.04 or higher alcohol concentration, verified positive drug tests, test refusals, and other violations of DOT agency drug and alcohol testing regulations.
     
  4. What drugs should we test for?
    The drugs for which tests are required under DOT guidelines are marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates. However, for non-DOT entities, you may test for these and any other drugs you feel may be necessary. These additional drugs may include barbiturates, benzodiazepine, methadone (MTD), tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) and even for steroid use.
     
  5. What is an adulterated specimen? 
    It's a specimen (urine sample) that contains a substance that is not expected to be present in human urine, or contains a substance expected to be present but is at concentration so high that it is not consistent with human urine.
     
  6. What is a Chain of Custody?
    It's the procedure used to document the handling of the urine specimen from the time the employee gives the specimen to the collector until the specimen is destroyed. Under DOT guidelines you would use the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF).
     
  7. How do DOT drug and alcohol tests relate to non-DOT tests? 
    DOT tests must be completely separate from non-DOT tests in all respects. DOT tests must take priority and must be conducted and completed before a non-DOT test is begun. No one is permitted to change or disregard the results of DOT tests based on the results of non-DOT tests. As an employer, you must not use the CCF or the (ATF) Alcohol Testing Form in your non-DOT drug and alcohol testing programs.
     
  8. Are Rapid Drug Screens as accurate as laboratory testing? 
    Rapid drug screens/tests are accurate up to >99%. These tests also allow a certified collector to inspect the specimen for adulteration, specimen temperature, and test results for up to ten drug panels. If a certified collector suspects any signs of tampering or the test results are non-negative, the specimen is sent to a laboratory for verification. Rapid Drug Screens or Point of Collection Tests are not allowed for DOT-regulated testing.
     
  9. What is a split specimen urine sample? 
    In drug testing, a part of the urine specimen that is sent to a first laboratory and retained unopened, and which is transported to a second laboratory in the event that the employee requests that it be tested following a verified positive test of the primary specimen or a verified adulterated or substituted test result.
     
  10. Who may collect urine specimens for DOT drug testing? 
    To be permitted to act as a collector in the DOT drug testing program, you must have knowledge of the current "DOT Urine Specimen Collections Procedure Guidelines," and DOT agency regulations applicable to the employers for whom you perform collections. Additionally, you must receive qualification training on all steps necessary to complete a collection correctly, to complete and transmit the CCF properly, and to handle problem collections accurately (e.g. shy bladder, test refusal, etc.). Finally, you must perform proficiency demonstrations to confirm your complete understanding.

  11. Can we conduct our own specimen collections?
    Yes, we can train your designated employer representative to conduct specimen collections of your employees. However, the immediate supervisor of an employee may not act as the collector, unless no other collector is available.
     
  12. Where does a urine collection for a DOT drug test take place? 
    A urine collection for a DOT drug test can take place in our dedicated collection facility, a medical facility or a mobile facility. All of these facilities must meet the following requirements: enclosed single-toilet room (preferred), full-length privacy door, and a source of water for washing hands (external if practicable). If an external source of water is not available, you may meet this requirement by securing all sources of water and other substances that could be used for adulteration or substitution.
     
  13. What steps must operators of collection sites take to ensure the integrity and security of urine collections?
    A bluing agent must be placed in all toilets used for specimen collection, ensure that no soap, disinfectants, cleaning agents, or other possible adulterants are present, inspect site to ensure no other foreign or unauthorized substances are present. You must also tape or secure shut any movable toilet tank top and secure areas and items (trash receptacles, paper towel holders, under sink area, ledges) that appear suitable for concealing contaminants.
     
  14. What are the advantages of on-site testing? 
    Global Safety Network offers on-site testing of employees. Meaning, we come to your place of business to perform the specimen collection (restrictions may apply). This saves you time and money. Companies that already have a testing program incur expenses that are not realized in their current program costs. These include the time the employee is away from work to go off site to test, lost productivity (increased production cost) and wage expense. Also, if you allow the employee to travel unsupervised, the employee has opportunity to engage in tampering or adulteration of the sample.

  15. Can I take controlled substances with a letter of permission from my physician?
    Except for marijuana, it is acceptable to use a controlled substance pursuant to the instructions of a licensed medical practitioner who has advised you the substance will not adversely affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or perform safety-sensitive duties.  Marijuana use, even with a prescription, is NOT acceptable under DOT regulations.  An employer may also require a driver to inform the employer of any therapeutic drug use.  
     
  16. What is a confirmation (or confirmatory) drug test? 
    A second analytical procedure performed on a urine specimen to identify and quantify the presence of a specific drug or drug metabolite.
     
  17. What is a Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
    A MRO is a licensed physician who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug results.
     
  18. What is a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)?
    A SAP evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.
     
  19. What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
    An EAP is an employer sponsored service that provides professional, short-term assistance and counseling in an attempt to help employees help themselves in solving personal and workplace problems. Many organizations have established EAPs as a no-cost employee benefit.
     
  20. How do I contact Global Safety Network regarding a drug & alcohol safety program, other services you provide, or if I have other questions?
    Contact us by phone or e-mail, or visit one of our locations.