U.S. DOT Issues Final Rule Change Allowing Oral Fluid Drug Testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a final rule on May 2, 2023, permitting oral fluid testing to be included as part of the industry's drug testing program.

The final rule will take effect June 1, 2023, thirty days from its publication in the Federal Register.

The following DOT agencies included under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act (OTETA) must incorporate these regulations for testing and laboratory requirements:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are not required to make regulatory changes before their employers incorporate this final rule.

After receiving over 400 public comments during its comment period, DOT established this final rule to offer employers options outside the traditional urine-based testing to help promulgate increased safety for the traveling public. Oral fluid testing is less intrusive and invasive than conventional urine testing. All oral fluid tests are directly observed, reducing the chances of an employee attempting to cheat a drug screen through substitution or other means.

Before this new rule takes effect, the DOT will need to officially certify two laboratories for oral fluid testing, which has not been done as of this release's date. Two certified laboratories are necessary if a donor wishes to contest their drug screen results and requests split specimen testing for a non-negative result verified by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). One Health and Human Services (HHS) certified laboratory can conduct the initial screening and confirmation drug testing on the primary specimen, while a different HHS-certified laboratory must conduct the split specimen drug testing on the secondary specimen.

A current list of HHS-certified laboratories can be located here.

For questions on how this final ruling may impact your organization, please contact your sales executive, account manager, or our customer service team for assistance.

Source: 2023-08041 Final Rule Change - Federal Register

Posted: May 2, 2023

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