Regulations and Requirements for DOT Modes

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) operates under several modes, including air travel, highway travel, maritime travel, and rail travel. Within each mode, the DOT maintains regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing for employees. These regulations outline which employees are subject to testing and whether there is a minimum required rate for drug and alcohol testing each year to ensure employee and traveler safety.

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

The DOT requires random drug and alcohol testing in several modes: aviation, motor carrier, railroad, transit, pipeline, and maritime. Within these modes, the DOT has established a minimum rate of testing based on the size of the mode’s safety-sensitive employee pool. Employees must have an equal chance of being tested during each round; employers may opt to select employees on the basis of name, title, or another specified group within the company’s policies, such as all employees on a single train. The minimum random drug testing rate for aviation, railroad, pipeline, transit, and Coast Guard employees is 25%; the minimum random drug testing rate for motor carriers is 50%. Only motor carriers, aviation, railroad, and transit modes are required to randomly test for alcohol, with a minimum testing rate of 10%.

Employees Subject to Testing

The DOT also specifies which employees are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. Employees are eligible for testing based solely on their function, rather than on their title, salary, or any other feature of their employment. Only employees with safety-sensitive functions are placed in the pool for random testing. Such safety-sensitive functions include commercial drivers, aircraft pilots and air traffic controllers, railroad employees subject to hours of service regulations, operations, maintenance, and emergency pipeline employees, and licensed Coast Guard members or employees noted in the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection.

At Oschmann Employee Screening Services, we can help you ensure DOT compliance with services that include drug and alcohol testing, compliance audits, and DOT physicals. If you’d like to schedule service or request pricing information, you can contact us online or by calling (520) 745-1029 or (800) 224-8532.


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