DOT Issues Proposed Oral Fluid Testing

Oral fluid test

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced new proposed oral fluid testing guidelines on Monday, February 28, 2022. Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) should be submitted by March 30, 2022. Oral fluid testing is currently still prohibited in DOT-regulated situations. Following the review of comments, DOT will issue final guidelines, which will include an implementation period after which oral fluid testing will be permitted in DOT situations.

What Are the New Regulations?

According to the DOT, they are “issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revise part 40 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Part 40), ‘Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs’ to add the oral fluid testing procedures to the existing urine drug testing procedures for safety-sensitive transportation employees subject to drug testing under Part 40 (hereinafter referred to as ‘‘employees’’). This action is based on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) establishment of the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid (OFMG) for Federal workplace drug testing programs. HHS determined that oral fluid testing conducted in accordance with the OFMG provides ‘‘the same scientific and forensic supportability of drug test results as the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Urine . . . .’’ (84 FR 57554). The OFMG final rule was published on October 25, 2019, and became effective January 1, 2020.

In addition to adding oral fluid as a drug testing method and harmonizing with pertinent OFMG sections, we also propose to clarify certain Part 40 provisions that cover urine drug testing procedures; to remove provisions that no longer are necessary; to add clarifying language to other provisions such as updated definitions and web links, as appropriate; and to update provisions to reflect issues that have arisen in recent practice.”

How Does Oral Fluid Testing Help?

The proposed rule change will add versatility and flexibility to DOT drug testing by allowing covered employers and agencies the ability to use oral fluid testing in their programs. Oral fluid testing offers a variety of benefits, including being less intrusive for donors and collection are fully observed which reduce the chances of cheating by a donor.

What Can DISA Do?

DISA’s professionals can assist you with creating a drug testing program custom to your company’s needs.  Combining testing methodologies, such as urinalysis with oral fluid, helps cover a more comprehensive detection window as oral fluid detects shorter, recent usage that closer aligns to impairment, while urine shows a longer detection window. Currently, oral fluid testing is not applicable to any DOT program at this time. Whether you’re DOT-regulated or not, our experts can ensure you’re meeting industry best practices.

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