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Downgrading DOT drug tests, now clearer than ever

FMCSA formalizes a process to convert DOT tests to non-DOT

Posted February 9, 2024

There has been a recent increase in requests to downgrade DOT drug tests, which has prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to formalize a process that has been in place for several years.

The FMCSA does not have the resources to address all tests that were mistakenly performed using a Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) and attributed to a DOT testing program. Instead, the agency will only review those tests that resulted in a violation reported to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. These violations that are mistakenly affecting drivers’ records.

Drivers or motor carriers are instructed by the FMCSA to submit a petition to request a correction of the driver’s Clearinghouse record using the DataQs system (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/).

If the test result was negative or the violation was not reported to the Clearinghouse, the employer can make the determination without consulting the FMCSA. The employer would have to document why the test should have been performed as non-DOT. This statement must be made available to an auditor who requests it during an investigation.

Any downgraded tests do not require that motor carriers involve their laboratory to change the test from DOT to non-DOT. As a result, laboratory summaries may not match an employer’s tracking of completed DOT drug tests.

Note that this process only applies to FMCSA tests and not to other DOT modes subject to Part 40 testing. The regulations don’t provide procedures, so the steps are left to the individual agency.

This article was written by Kathy Close of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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