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Frequently Asked Questions

As an employee or employer, how do I know if I am subject to DOT testing?

• Generally, U. S. DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations cover safety-sensitive transportation employers and employees. Each DOT agency (e.g. FRA, FMCSA, FTA, FAA, and RSPA) and the United States Coast Guard ( USCG) has specific drug and alcohol testing regulations that outline who is subject to their testing regulations.

How does 49 CFR Part 40 differ from the DOT Agency specific regulations? 49 CFR Part 40 (commonly referred to as “Part 40”) tells you:

- how drug and alcohol testing is conducted,
- who is authorized to participate in the drug and alcohol testing program, and
- what employees must do before they may return to duty following a drug and/or alcohol violation.

• The DOT Agency and the USCG specific regulations set forth:
- the agency’s prohibitions on drug and alcohol use,
- who is subject to the regulations,
- what testing is authorized,
- when testing is authorized, and
- the consequences of non-compliance.

• The DOT agencies and the USCG incorporate Part 40 into their regulations and enforce compliance of all their respective regulations.

Will I lose my job if I test positive or refuse a test?

• These decisions are solely the employer’s, which may be based on company policy and/or collective bargaining agreements. The DOT regulations do not address hiring, termination, or other employment actions.

What happens to me when I test positive or refuse to test (i.e. adulterate, or substitute my urine specimen, or decline to be tested)?

• Under DOT regulations, when you test positive or refuse a test, you are not permitted to perform safety-sensitive duties until you have seen a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and successfully completed the return-to-duty process, which includes a Federal return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test. Working in a safety-sensitive position before successfully completing the return-to-duty process is a violation of the regulations.

Who pays for the DOT drug or alcohol test or SAP recommended treatment/education, the employer or employee?

• The Department’s regulations are silent on who is responsible for paying for the testing or SAP recommended treatment/education. Payment may be based on an understanding between the employer and employee, including applicants for safety-sensitive positions.

An employer may not, however, refrain from sending a “split specimen” for testing because the employee does not pay for the test in advance.

Do I need to be DOT certified to participate in DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program as a service agent (i.e. urine specimen collector, breath alcohol technician (BAT), screening test technician (STT), medical review officer (MRO), substance abuse professional (SAP), or laboratory)?

• The regulations do not authorize the DOT to certify service agents. Nor does the Department offer a certificate to participate in DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program.

The regulations only require that you meet the qualification and training outlines in 49 CFR Part 40 and maintain the necessary documentation to prove your qualifications.

As a laboratory, you can only participate in DOT’s drug testing program if you are certified by the Department of Health and Human Services under the National Laboratory Certification Program.

If I want to become a service agent, where do I find a list of courses or training sessions?

• DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) does not maintain a listing of courses or training sessions. However, some of these may be found on various Internet web sites supported by national associations and other transportation industry related service agents. If you want to obtain written materials or videos about drug-free workplace issues, you can obtain many low or no-cost materials from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (

As an employer, where do I find a list of qualified services agents, e.g. urine specimen collectors, breath alcohol technicians (BATs), screening test technicians (STTs), medical review officers (MROs), substance abuse professionals (SAPs), or laboratories?

• There is no official list of qualified service agents. You can check with industry associations, the yellow pages, or the web for service agents. The Department of Health and Human Services does, however, publish a monthly list of certified laboratories in the Federal Register.

• As an employer, you are ultimately responsible for compliance with the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations; therefore, you must ensure that the service agent you use meets all the DOT required qualifications before using the service agent.

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