DOT Drug Testing Requirements Amended, Effective October 1, 2010


New Compliance Measures for DOT Drug Testing

DOT Drug TestingEffective October 1, 2010, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is amending certain provisions of its drug testing procedures dealing with laboratory testing of urine specimens to align with new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requirements.  Some of the changes will also affect the training of, and procedures used by, Medical Review Officers (MROs).  The Final Rule has been published in the Federal Register, and the key components include:


  • The DOT begins by affirming it is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and the drugs that are being tested.
  • Laboratories must begin testing for MDMA (aka Ecstasy).
  • Cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines will be lowered.
  • Initial testing for heroin will be mandatory.
  • An MRO will not need to be trained by an HHS-approved MRO training organization as long as the MRO meets DOT's qualification and requalification training requirements.
  • The requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years has been replaced.  Instead, every MRO will need to be re-qualified every five years, including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization.
  • MRO record keeping requirements will continue at five (5) years for non-negatives and one (1) year for negatives.
  • HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) may not be utilized for initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing.
  • Many DOT testing definitions have been revised in light of these new HHS requirements.

The complete Final Rule is contained in the August 16, 2010, Federal Register and can be accessed by visiting the GPO Access website.

EBI advises employers who are subject to these new DOT drug testing guidelines to contact their legal counsel and/or revise their policies accordingly.


All information contained herein is provided by Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI), PO Box 629, Owings Mills, MD 21117, and is solely for the convenience of its readers.  EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within should be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

Drug Testing