DOT Random Drug Testing Regulations Q&A

Question #1: If my organization schedules collectors to come on-site for random drug and alcohol testing and one of my employees is absent the day of the collections, can I simply test the first person on the “alternate” list?

Answer: No. You must test the employees who are on your random selection list. The one exception would be for an employee who is on an extended leave of absence or will be off duty for the duration of the selection period (monthly or quarterly). NOTE: If an alternate is used, the employer must maintain documentation as to the reason why the alternate was tested in the place of the selected employee.

In this case, rather than using your list of alternates, you’ll need to ensure a local collection site is set up to send in the absent employee upon his return to work.

Question #2: We’re a school system who employs substitute bus drivers. Do we need to include “subs” in our random drug and alcohol testing program?

Answer: Yes. Any person who may be asked by your school system to drive a bus should be included in your random drug and alcohol testing pool.

Question #3: OK. Then when are we supposed to test these subs? They may not even be asked to sub for us in the same selection period in which they show up on our random list.

Answer: Obviously, it would be ideal if the sub were on duty at some point during the selection period. In this case, you could have him tested immediately following his bus route. If he is not asked to drive at all during this selection period, he would be placed back in the random drug and alcohol testing pool, and the number of employees tested in future selection periods should be adjusted accordingly to ensure DOT minimum rates are achieved.

Question #4: So is there NEVER a time when a driver should be called in from off duty for the purposes of taking a random drug test?

Answer: While the DOT specifically limits random alcohol testing for when an employee is at work (just prior to, during, or just after employee performs a safety-sensitive function, i.e. driving and related activities), there is nothing in part 382 of the regulations that prohibits employers from calling in an employee from off-duty status to take a random drug test, provided the employee is directed to report immediately to the collection site for testing. However, this should generally be avoided as it can be a logistical nightmare and is not considered to be consistent with the best practice of only calling an employee in for a random drug test while he or she is at work.

Question #5: We have an employee who has a CDL and may occasionally be asked to drive a commercial motor vehicle, but his primary job has nothing to do with driving. Do we include him in the testing?

Answer: Yes. Reference answer to question #2 – any person who has a CDL and may be asked to drive a commercial motor vehicle as part of his job functions (even if only rarely), must be included in the random drug and alcohol testing pool at all times.

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