New DOT Drug Testing Rules

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) modified its drug testing rules. The entire new rules can be read here.

Only employers that MUST comply with DOT drug testing rules (for drivers of larger trucks) MUST comply with these new rules, which take effect October 1, 2010.
So, employers that have voluntary (optional) drug testing plans in effect may wish to modify them to conform with the DOT rules, but they do not have to.

The DOT has summarized the changes in an email which I'm pasting here:

1) The Department is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.

2) Primary laboratory requirements in this final rule include:

- Testing for MDMA (aka. Ecstasy);

- Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines;

- Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin;

3) The Department brought several testing definitions in-line with those of HHS.

4) Each Medical Review Officer (MRO) will need to be re-qualified – including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization - every five years. The Final Rule eliminated the requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

5) 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.

6) MRO recordkeeping requirements did not change from the five years for non-negatives and one year for negatives.

7) The Final Rule does not allow the use of HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) to conduct initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing but IITFs cannot conduct confirmation testing.

8) The Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010.