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DOT Proposes to Allow Oral Fluid Drug Testing Method

On Feb. 28, 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed to amend the transportation industry’s drug-testing program to include oral fluid testing. 

The proposed rule also includes some revisions to existing testing protocols to harmonize DOT regulations with mandatory federal testing program guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Oral Fluid Testing Overview

The DOT is proposing to allow but not require oral fluid specimen testing as an alternative method under Part 40, for use by DOT-regulated employers.
The proposed DOT rule also clarifies certain existing Part 40 provisions that cover the handling of urine specimens. Substantive modifications will also include clarifications to practical issues, such as whether:

•    A test canceled by a medical review officer can ever be uncanceled; and
•    A substance abuse professional should be allowed to conduct evaluations virtually.

According to the DOT, if the rule is adopted, employers will have an alternative testing method to prevent cheating on urine drug tests. The DOT also believes oral fluid testing can provide more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program and that this testing method balances individual privacy rights and the DOT’s strong interest in safety.

Employer Next Steps

With this proposed rule, the DOT is specifically asking employers, motor carriers, and the public to comment on whether there are circumstances when either urine or oral fluid should be mandatory. The commentary period will remain open until March 30, 2022.

Important Dates:

Feb. 28, 2022
Publication date for the DOT’s proposal to include oral fluid testing in the transportation industry’s drug-testing program.

March 30, 2022
Deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule.


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