March 2022: U.S Department of Transportation Publishes Rules for Oral Fluid Drug Testing

23 Mar


Update Applicable to:
All employers covered by federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

What happened?
On February 28, 2022, the DOT published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking for oral fluid drug testing.

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What are the details?
This notice is to harmonize with the mandatory guidelines for the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Oral Fluid established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2020.

The DOT is not proposing to eliminate urine testing, but to provide another option for employers applicable to these regulations as the oral fluid testing window of detection for marijuana is up to 24 hours, whereas urine testing’s window of detection is three to 67 days.

The DOT also proposes training criteria for oral fluid collectors, provides requirements for oral fluid collection sites, and sets forth steps that operators of collection sites and collectors must take to protect the security and integrity of oral fluid collections.

The addition of another specimen for drug testing also will be useful in the event that a second collection is required (e.g., insufficient quantity of urine, the temperature is out of range, or insufficient saliva). While a urine specimen and oral fluid specimen may not be collected at the same time, a different specimen may be collected when there is a problem with an initial specimen collection.

Due to oral fluid testing being new, the DOT invites and seeks comments on the following:

  • accuracy of these windows of detection,
  • the many issues including who should be permitted to collect oral fluid specimens,
  • whether Medical Review Officers should receive additional training for reviewing oral fluid tests,
  • how to handle situations where insufficient oral fluid is provided by the tested individual,
  • who should decide whether a different specimen may be collected,
  • how employers and collection sites should communicate about it, and more.

Comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking should be submitted no later than March 30, 2022.

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For more information, please see the links below:


Federal Register Notice

What do employers need to do?
Employers who fall under these federal regulations should review the links above and provide a comment via the Federal Register notice.

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