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How is COVID-19 affecting DOT drug and alcohol testing?

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We have received many questions about how DOT drug and alcohol testing is affected by the Coronavirus crisis. 
The DOT issued guidance on March 23 about Drug and Alcohol Testing.  Nothing is suspended but it is understood that some testing, training or other components of the testing programs may not be possible. Full documents can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2020-03/DOT_Guidance_on_Compliance_with_Drug_and_Alcohol_Testing_Regulations.pdf
Here are some excerpts from the guidance document:
For DOT-Regulated Employers:
  • As a DOT-regulated employer, you must comply with applicable DOT training and testing requirements. However, DOT recognizes that compliance may not be possible in certain areas due to the unavailability of program resources, such as collection sites, Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), Medical Review Officers (MRO) and Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP).  You should make a reasonable effort to locate the necessary resources. 
  • If you are unable to conduct DOT drug or alcohol training or testing due to COVID-19-related supply shortages, facility closures, State or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments, you are to continue to comply with existing applicable DOT Agency requirements to document why a test was not completed.  If training or testing can be conducted later (e.g., supervisor reasonable suspicion training at the next available opportunity, random testing later in the selection period, follow-up testing later in the month), you are to do so in accordance with applicable modal regulations.  Links to the modal regulations and their respective web pages can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/agencies
  • If employers are unable to conduct DOT drug and alcohol testing due to the unavailability of testing resources, the underlying modal regulations continue to apply.  For example, without a negative pre-employment drug test result, an employer may not permit a prospective or current employee to perform any DOT safety-sensitive functions, or in the case of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), you cannot hire the individual (See 14 CFR § 120.109(1) and (2)).
  • As a reminder, it is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate the circumstances of the employee’s refusal to test and determine whether or not the employee’s actions should be considered a refusal as per 49 CFR 40.355(i).  However, as the COVID-19 outbreak poses a novel public health risk, DOT asks employers to be sensitive to employees who indicate they are not comfortable or are afraid to go to clinics or collection sites.  DOT asks employers to verify with the clinic or collection site that it has taken the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate office at 845-341-0515.

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