Master the Art of DOT Compliance: Your Ultimate Guide to Meeting Regulations and Avoiding Fines!


If you operate a trucking or bus company with employed drivers, a DOT drug and alcohol testing program may be necessary. If you are a self-employed owner-operator, a slightly different program called DOT Consortium Compliance for the Owner Operator is needed. If you are new in the trucking industry, learn what to expect from your new entrant exam from the FMCSA. This article will discuss eight steps to achieve drug testing compliance with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for trucking companies. These steps include determining if you need a DOT drug and alcohol testing program, implementing a written policy, providing educational materials to your drivers, providing reasonable suspicion supervisor training, registering in the FMCSA Clearinghouse and running annual queries, conducting required drug and alcohol testing including pre-employment testing, removing drivers that have violations or a prohibited status, and keeping complete records of your program. It is important to follow these steps to ensure compliance with the regulations and maintain a safe working environment for your drivers.


More information can be found on the FMCSA DOT website

Do you need help with your audit!? Call us!

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires new trucking companies to undergo a new entrant safety audit within their first 12 months of operation. The audit is designed to ensure that the company follows all safety standards and regulations. The audit is based on four criteria: alcohol and drug violations, driver violations, operations violations, and repairs and inspections violations. To prepare for the audit, trucking companies should ensure they have a DOT-approved drug and alcohol testing system in place, accurate driver qualification files, appropriate insurance coverage, and accurate tracking of hours-of-service (HOS) records. Additionally, they should maintain their equipment and keep records of any previous inspections. During the audit, an official auditor will review the company's paperwork either on-site or online and provide feedback on ways to improve safety management. To prepare for the audit, trucking companies can contact us so we can help compile all the necessary paperwork to prove compliance with safety regulations.

Who is required to take a DOT Drug Test?

Anyone designated in DOT regulations as a “safety-sensitive” employee is subject to DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing. A safety-sensitive employee is someone who holds a job that can impact both their own safety and the safety of the public.

These are some of the DOT departments with safety-sensitive positions:

  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: 
  • U.S. Coast Guard:
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: 
  • Federal Railroad Administration: 
  • Federal Transit Administration: 

What does a "DOT Drug Test" test for?

All DOT drug tests use have the same "panel"

  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Amphetamines (including methamphetamine, MDMA)
  • Opioids* (including codeine, heroin (6-AM), morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

When do I have to take a DOT Drug Test?

There are different types of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.

  • Pre-employment testing is done before starting job responsibilities. 
  • Reasonable suspicion/cause testing is done if a supervisor suspects you are under the influence based on appearance, behavior, speech, smell, etc. 
  • Random testing is done quarterly using a truly random selection process. Often done by C/TPA
  • Return-to-duty testing is required after a violation and must be completed before returning to any DOT job. 
  • Follow-up testing is managed by a Substance Abuse Professional for up to 5 years/ C/TPA. 
  • Post-accident testing is required if involved in an accident meeting certain DOT criteria.

What if I fail a DOT Drug Test?

If you fail your DOT drug test, DOT regulations require your employer to immediately remove you from performing any DOT safety-sensitive job. There may be other consequences, too, like losing your certification or license. This depends on your company’s policy or employment agreement.