On May 2, 2023, a final rule on “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs: Addition of Oral Fluid Specimen Testing for Drugs” was published in the Federal Register that “amends the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulated industry drug testing program to include oral fluid testing.” This final rule is effective on June 1, 2023.
The individual DOT agencies that published the final rule in the Federal Register regarding oral fluid testing were the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A summary of the final rule is below:
- This final rule amends the U.S. Department of Transportation’s regulated industry drug testing program to include oral fluid testing. This additional methodology for drug testing will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program. In order for an employer to implement oral fluid testing under the Department’s regulation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will need to certify at least two laboratories for oral fluid testing, which has not yet been done. The final rule includes other provisions to update the Department’s regulation and to harmonize, as needed, with the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, this rule amends the FAA, FMCSA, FRA, and FTA regulations to ensure consistency within the Department of Transportation and by removing or adjusting references to the word “urine” and/or add references to oral fluid, as well as removing or amending some definitions for conformity and to make other miscellaneous technical changes or corrections.
When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule establishing the “Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid (OFMG)” in 2019, it opened oral fluid testing to Federal agencies as an alternate methodology to choose and not as a replacement for urine drug testing. Similarly, the DOT has agreed.
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