Transit Industry Random Drug Testing Rate to Increase January 1, 2019

On October 17, 2018, the Federal Transit Administration issued a "Dear Colleague" letter announcing that effective January 1, 2019, the minimum rate of random drug testing will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent of covered employees for employers subject to FTA’s drug and alcohol regulation. This change is due to an increase in the industry's "positive rate" as reflected in random drug test data for calendar year 2017.  The alcohol testing rate is unchanged for 2019 and will remain at 10 percent.

The FTA will formally announce this increase in a forthcoming Federal Register notice, but has issued the "Dear Colleague" letter in advance to inform transit providers and partner associations of the 2019 drug testing increase and to facilitate early planning.


Dear Colleague Letter

FTA Drug and Alcohol Program

Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations (49 CFR Part 655)

DOT 5 Panel Notice

March 6, 2018 -

DOT Drug Testing: After January 1, 2018 – Still a 5-Panel

The DOT testing at HHS-certified laboratories is a 5-panel drug test regimen.  As of January 1, 2018, the ‘Opiates’ category was renamed ‘Opioids’:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

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Part 40 DOT Policies Notice

December 4, 2017 -

DOT Drug Testing: Employer DOT Policies – the Part 40 Changes

The DOT Agencies & United States Coast Guard (USCG) have provided guidance to DOT-regulated employers about what their DOT policies will need to contain about the changes to 49 CFR Part 40, which are effective January 1, 2018.

1. The Federal Transit Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and USCG take this position.

There is no need for employers to make any changes if their current DOT policies refer to adhering to “... Part 40.” However, there are exceptions when an employer’s DOT policy lists the following optional information:

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DOT Publishes Final Rule: Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

November 13, 2017 -

DOT Publishes Drug Testing Rule

Today, November 13, 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a final rule that, among other items, expands the Department’s current drug testing panel to include certain semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).

“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

To learn more about this final rule, visit or view the rule at

Rule to build database of truckers who have failed drug tests set for publication

Matt Cole – November 2, 2016 –

A final rule to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for CDL holders has cleared its final hurdle before publication.

The CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule would establish a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test. Having cleared the White House’s Office of Management and Budget on Monday, Oct. 31, the rule should be published soon.

The OMB gave the rule a “consistent with change” ruling, which means the rule is cleared to be published with changes recommended by OMB. Those recommendations were not published, and the final text of the rule won’t be known until it’s published in the Federal Register.

The clearinghouse would require carriers to submit positive tests and refusals to the database, and owner-operators must also report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers, including themselves, to the database.

In its latest rulemaking update, the Department of Transportation estimated the rule would be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 23.