Working in a position that requires drug testing can be stressful. But as a driver or other employee, having clear rules about drug testing makes the workplace safer and more trustworthy. It shows the public that you’re serious about safety, which is the main goal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) drug testing program.
If you need help with drug testing, our team of professionals at Fleet Drug Testing has the solutions you need. We have an extensive network of testing locations and offer comprehensive programs that make sure you can stay compliant with FMCSA and DOT regulations. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create a drug testing program that fits your needs.
What Rules Are in Place for an FMCSA Urine Test?
Understanding and following the drug testing regulations established by the FMCSA is an extremely important part of ensuring the safety of all individuals involved in the transportation industry. These rules mainly apply to transportation workers in safety-sensitive roles who must take drug tests. This includes those who operate vehicles on the nation’s roads, but extends to other employees who are in charge of maintenance, loading and unloading, and other aspects of the business.
Specifically, the FMCSA holds that drug testing must take place at certain intervals:
- Pre-employment screening
- Post-accident testing
- Random testing conducted at periodic intervals throughout the year
- Testing prompted by reasonable suspicion
- Testing before an employee returns to their duties following a previous positive test result
FMCSA drug tests are designed to screen for specific categories of drugs, including:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
In addition to drug testing, employees are also subject to periodic alcohol testing, particularly after accidents. It is crucial to comprehend that there are well-defined guidelines to be followed by individuals undergoing testing, as well as protocols for employers, laboratories, Medical Review Officers (MROs), and other entities engaged in the testing process.
The FMCSA testing process usually unfolds as follows:
- Employers explain the drug test details, including the test’s time and place, to employees.
- A trained collector at the test site carefully collects a urine sample, labels, and seals it securely.
- The sample is divided into two parts: one sent to a certified lab for testing (primary specimen) and the other kept at the collection site for backup (split specimen).
- At the lab, the primary specimen is tested using the immunoassay method. If it shows drugs, a more precise test called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is done to confirm.
- A Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviews the results. If it’s positive, the MRO contacts the employee and asks about any prescription medications that might affect the test. If there’s a valid medical reason, the result is reported as negative.
- The MRO informs the employer of the results. If it’s positive, the employee is removed from safety-sensitive duties, and the employer may need to report it to the FMCSA.
Again, these rules and regulations may seem stringent, but they’re in place to ensure the safety of you and others that you share the road with. As it relates specifically to a urine test, it’s important to understand how and why you, as a driver, can maintain compliance when providing a urine sample.
Providing a Good Urine Sample During a FMCSA Drug Test
As you can see, the drug testing process under the FMCSA is tightly-controlled and regulated. So, it’s important to be ready for a drug test. This means more than just not using drugs–and sometimes isn’t’ even possible if you need to take prescription medications. It also means being ready to provide a good sample, which can sometimes be easier said than done. Here’s a quick overview of ways to prepare for an FMCSA urine test:
- Avoid banned substances – Obviously, don’t use any drugs that will be caught on the test These include marijuana, cocaine, opioids (like painkillers), amphetamines (like speed), and phencyclidine (PCP). Follow the rules about drugs and alcohol set by the FMCSA.
- Prescription medicines – If you’re taking medicine prescribed by a doctor, make sure it’s legal, and you have a prescription for it. Tell your boss and the Medical Review Officer (MRO) if you’re taking any prescription medications when they test you.
- Drink water – Drink enough water so you can give a good urine sample during the test. But don’t drink too much water, or your sample might be diluted.
- Be ready – When it’s time for the test, have your ID, like your driver’s license, with you so they can check who you are.
- Listen carefully – Pay close attention to what the people at the test place tell you to do. Follow their directions on how to give the urine sample correctly.
- Don’t tamper with your sample – Make sure the urine you give for the test isn’t tampered with or changed in any way. Do it right and seal it up like they say.
- Be honest – If the MRO asks you about any medicines or drugs you’ve taken, tell the truth and give the right info.
- Stay calm – Don’t worry too much during the test. It’s a normal thing, and being calm helps you give a good urine sample.
- Know your rights – Learn what you’re allowed to do as someone taking the test, like having a fair and secret test process.
- Follow the rules – Make sure you and your boss follow all the FMCSA rules about drug testing. Not following the rules can lead to serious problems.
Remember, the FMCSA makes strict rules to keep the roads safe. Following these rules and getting ready for the urine test is important if you want to keep your job as a commercial driver, and is equally important for your future in the industry. Failing a drug test can happen, but it’s important to get help if you need it, then work your way back with positive results.
Fleet Drug Testing Can Help You Stay Compliant
Being ready and complying with FMCSA drug testing regulations can be stressful, but our team at Fleet Drug Testing can help. Our programs and full-service offerings take the guesswork out of reporting to locations for drug tests and making sure your results are accurate and reliable. Contact us today and let us help you and your company stay compliant.