DOT Compliance


This act mandates that employers participate in a highly structured alcohol and drug testing process that is aimed specifically towards workers in safety-sensitive positions in an effort to eliminate alcohol and other drug use in the workplace. The following Department of Transportation agencies are impacted by the regulations: United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Research and Special Programs Administration, (RSPA), and the Office of the Secretary (OST).

Employers are required to conduct pre-employment, post accident, responsible suspicion, random testing, follow-up and return to duty testing of covered employees for the following substances: Alcohol, Cocaine, Marijuana, Phencyclidine (PCP), Opiates (heroin, codeine and morphine) and amphetamines (amphetamine/methamphetamine).

Employers must also do the following:

  • Obtain previous two years of testing information from applicant’s previous employers
  • Provide two years of testing information as requested by a new employer
  • Develop a policy and provide employees with educational information on the use/misuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Authorize an employee to act as the Designated Employer Representative
  • Contract with a U.S. laboratory certified by the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Contract with a Medical Review Officer (MRO) – a licensed physician who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by the employer’s drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results
  • Contract with a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)



Since 1994, HelpPeople has been providing the following comprehensive DOT services:

  • Consultation regarding policy development
  • Supervisor training – recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug misuse
  • Employee educational materials
  • Substance Abuse Professional Services



A transportation worker who has violated DOT regulations must follow a specific procedure before being considered for return to safety-sensitive function. The process, conducted by a qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), includes:

  • The SAP conducts an initial face-to-face clinical evaluation, including a clinical evaluation tool. The evaluation must make a recommendation for treatment and/or education in every case. The SAP must send an initial evaluation report to the employer.
  • The SAP assists the employee in contacting the treatment provider, and arranging for services.
  • The SAP maintains regular contact with the treatment provider, to monitor the employee’s treatment progress, and to confirm suitability of the treatment plan.
  • The SAP will conduct a face-to-face follow-up clinical evaluation to determine if the employee has complied with the SAP’s recommendations, and to measure success of treatment. If the employee has complied with the SAP’s recommendation, the SAP sends a follow-up report is to the employer, including SAP’s recommendations for a program of aftercare and follow-up testing.
  • The SAP will conduct ongoing monitoring following the employee’s return to work. Reports of compliance or non-compliance will be sent to the employer.