Alcohol & Drugs (Motor Carriers) laws & safety compliance analysis

Alcohol & Drugs (Motor Carriers): What you need to know


The federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act (OTETA) of 1991 requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement alcohol and drug testing for safety-sensitive employees in the aviation, highway, rail, and mass transit industries. The Act specifically requires privacy in collection techniques, confirmation of any positive screening results, use of split samples of body fluid specimens, employer recordkeeping, confidentiality of test results, and scientifically random selection of employees to be tested. The Act preempts inconsistent state and local laws.

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The rules cover regulated employers in the aviation, motor carrier, railroad, maritime, mass transit, and pipeline fields. Also covered are private employers that operate trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or more, buses that transport 15 or more persons, any truck carrying dangerous materials, school buses, government vehicles, and employees holding commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs).

The DOT rule at 49 CFR 40 details the required testing procedures for all transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing programs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the DOT, has laid out the specific controlled substance and alcohol use and testing regulations that apply to employees who drive commercial trucks and buses that require a CDL at 49 CFR 382. 49 CFR 40 is a DOT-wide regulation that applies to all transportation industry employers, while 49 CFR 382 is specific to motor carriers and commercial drivers. Motor carriers and commercial drivers are required to follow the provisions of both rules.

Mandatory guidelines at 49 CFR Part 40, Subpart C, set scientific and technical standards for federal ...

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