DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing, DMV Physicals, Post Accident, RTD Testing

1. DOT Drug Testing

Department Of Transportation (DOT) regulates occupations such as commercial truck drivers, bus drivers, pilots, train engineers and conductors, airline mechanics, flammable and pressurized pipeline maintenance and emergency workers, some areas of the Coast Guard, and others.

DOT drug tests require laboratory testing (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F) for the following five classes of drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine – PCP

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Which substances are tested?
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Testing Procedures

What CDL Drivers Need to Know

The DOT drug and alcohol testing procedures are extensive and can be found in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart E and Part 40 Subpart L, respectively.

All CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) subject to the CDL requirements on public roads in the U.S. are performing safety-sensitive functions and are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. This includes all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup and international drivers.

You fail a drug or alcohol test by testing positive to a drug test, or registering a 0.04 or greater alcohol content. Either of these results requires you to be immediately removed from performing safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving CMVs) until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.

Your refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test is generally equivalent to testing positive to a drug or alcohol test. The Employee Handbook “What Employees Need to Know About DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing (English)” can be found here.

2. DOT Breath Alcohol Testing (using EBT)

DOT alcohol testing identifies alcohol concentration of 0.02 and greater.

Evidential Breath Testing (EBT) Devices

To conduct a confirmation test, you must use an EBT that has the following capabilities:

  • Provides a printed triplicate result (or three consecutive identical copies of a result) of each breath test
  • Assigns a unique number to each completed test, which the BAT and employee can read before each test and which is printed on each copy of the result
  • Prints, on each copy of the result, the manufacturer’s name for the device, its serial number, and the time of the test
  • Distinguishes alcohol from acetone at the 0.02 alcohol concentration level
  • Tests an air blank; and
  • Performs an external calibration check

US Department of Transportation

3. DMV Physicals

Federal guidelines mandate that every commercial driver passes the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam. The goal of DOT physical is to check whether an applicant is physically capable of driving safely at the present time and in the near future. Successfully passing the exam usually means you only have to take the exam in 24 months time, although in some instances this period might be shortened if serious health problems could arise in the future.

Health Requirements

The basic requirements for passing a DOT physical exam are:

  • With or without vision corrections, each eye, as well as both eyes combined, need to have 20/40 vision.
  • Ability to distinguish color is necessary.
  • Hearing needs to be good enough to notice a forced whisper at a minimum distance of 5 feet.
  • Maximum allowable blood pressure is 160/100. Use of prescription medication to achieve this threshold is permitted.
  • An applicant can have diabetes which is controlled through diet or medication. Diabetes which is controlled though insulin injections is not permitted
  • The maximum level of blood sugar an applicant is allowed to have is 200.
  • No use of a Schedule 1 drug, amphetamine, narcotic or any habit forming drug is allowed.

In case you are currently diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease such as congestive cardiac failure, collapse or cardiac insufficiency, then you will be required to present the Medical Examiner with a stress test along with a note from your physician which states that you are able to drive a commercial motor vehicle with no restrictions.

California DMV: California DOT Physical Exam For CDL

4. Post Accident Testing

Post accident testing is usually performed following an accident where any of the following occurrences have taken place:

  • the accident involved a fatality
  • any of the participants in the accident received bodily injury required immediate medical treatment away from the scene
  • a workers compensation claim may be filed

Nationwide Drug Testing Association: Non-DOT Testing

5. Return-to-Duty (RTD) Testing

Return-to-Duty testing is usually performed when company policy allows an employee to return to work following a positive drug screen.

How does the return-to-duty process conclude?

As the employer, if you decide that you want to permit the employee to return to the performance of safety-sensitive functions, you must ensure that the employee takes a return-to-duty test. This test cannot occur until after the SAP has determined that the employee has successfully complied with prescribed education and/or treatment.

The employee must have a negative drug test result and/or an alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02 before resuming performance of safety-sensitive duties.

To learn more about our testing services, CONTACT US at 925-275-9350 for San Ramon, CA or 510-742-9143 for Fremont, CA.

US Department of Transportation: Subpart O – Substance Abuse Professionals and the Return-to-Duty Process