What FMCSA regulated employers need to know

What FMCSA Regulated Employers Need To Know?

In general employers regulated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) and all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles 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 (§382.103). This includes all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup and international drivers.  The following information will outline the most frequently asked questions of employers regulated by the FMCSA.

When are DOT Drug test administered?

DOT drug and alcohol tests include:

  • Pre-employment Drug Test- An employer must receive a negative drug test result before permitting a CDL driver to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle.
  • Post Accident Drug Test-  There are certain scenarios where post accident drug and alcohol tests are required.  the following chart listed below summarizes 49 CFR part 382.303.
Type of Accident Involved Citation Issued to the CMV Driver Test Must Be Performed by Employer
Human Fatality Yes Yes
Human Facility No Yes
Bodily Injury With Immediate Medical Treatment Away From the Scene



Bodily Injury With Immediate Medical Treatment Away From the Scene No No
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow Away Yes Yes
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow Away No No
  • Random Drug Test- All Commercial Drivers drivers must be subject to random testing spread reasonably throughout the year. Also, an employer who employs only himself/herself as a driver and who is not leased to a motor carrier, shall implement a random testing program of two or more covered employees in the random testing selection pool as a member of a consortium.
  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Test- “Safety Sensitive” employees who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol are subject to immediate testing. (this determination must be made by a supervisor who has been trained in the detection of symptoms associated with drug or alcohol use.
  • Return to Duty Drug Test- This type of test is required for DOT regulated employees who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B. This test is performed once the employee has competed the return to duty process with a DOT qualified  substance Abuse Professional (SAP. (this is a directly observed drug test)
  • Follow Up DOT Drug Test–  Required for drivers who tested positive, refused, or otherwise violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B; and who have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.  Once they and have tested negative for a return-to-duty test, this testing is determined by the substance abuse professional for a minimum of 6 directly observed tests in 12 months, but can be extended an additional four years.

What is the DOT Drug Test?

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

As of January 1, 2018, the ‘Opiates’ category was renamed ‘Opioids’:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

DOT drug testing will continue to include confirmation testing, when appropriate, for Codeine, Morphine, and 6-AM (heroin) and DOT/HHS added initial and confirmation testing for the semi-synthetic opioids such as, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone to this Opioids group.  Some brand names for the semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®.

Under Amphetamines, DOT testing includes confirmatory testing, when appropriate, for Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA.  To this Amphetamines group, we added initial testing for MDA and removed testing for MDEA.

Since January 1, 2018 a DOT 5 panel drug test requires confirmation testing for 14 different drugs under a 5‑panel test.

Below is an itemized list here is what DOT drug testing looks like:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  1. Amphetamine
  2. Methamphetamine
  3. MDMA
  4. MDA
  • Opioids
  1. Codeine
  2. Morphine
  3. 6-AM (heroin)
  4. Hydrocodone
  5. Hydromorphone
  6. Oxycodone
  7. Oxymorphone
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

It is important to note than when ordering a DOT drug Test, it is still recognized as a DOT 5 panel drug test.

What does these changes mean for collectors, Laboratories and Medical Review Officers?

  • Collectors should continue to check the 5-panel box in Step 1 of the CCF: That is, the box specified for “THC, COC, PCP, OPI, AMP.”
  • Laboratories will:
  • Continue to report to Medical Review Officers the specific drugs / drug metabolites they confirm as positive.  Laboratories will add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone confirmed positives, as appropriate.
  • Laboratories will add hydrocodone; hydromorphone; oxycodone; and oxymorphone confirmed positive totals, as appropriate, under Opioids on their semi-annual reports to DOT and their semi-annual reports to employers.
  • Medical Review Officers will continue to report to employers the specific drugs / drug metabolite they verify as positive; and MROs will add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone verified positives, as appropriate.
  • Employers will continue to provide the number of verified positive drug test results in each testing category (i.e., Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opioids, and PCP) on their annual MIS reports.