What Arkansas lacks in land area, it more than makes up for in contributing to the transportation industry. Data from the Arkansas Trucking Association found that there were 97,500 transportation industry jobs in the state in 2019. As one of these workers, it’s crucial to meet all of the regulations and requirements set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
At Fleet Drug Testing, we offer drug testing services that fully comply with the DOT’s rules. Our coverage includes crucial positions at various locations across Arkansas, from Fayetteville to Little Rock.
No matter if you’re driving on Interstate 40 or 49, our skilled team guarantees accurate test results and follows all the DOT’s rules across the state. If you want to know more or begin, feel free to contact us today. Our main aim is to keep you safe while driving.
Which Arkansas Employees Are Subject to DOT Drug Testing?
Compliance with DOT regulations is of utmost importance for employees across the country to maintain their licenses and sustain their businesses successfully. The core aspect of these regulations mandates drug and alcohol testing for all “safety-sensitive” employees. Although this primarily involves drivers, it extends to a wide array of other essential roles, including:
- Truck drivers, bus drivers, and other commercial drivers transporting passengers or hazardous materials.
- Airline pilots, helicopter pilots, and other aviation personnel responsible for operating aircraft.
- Locomotive engineers, conductors, and other railway employees involved in the operation of trains.
- Employees responsible for the maintenance and operation of pipelines transporting hazardous materials.
- Certain crew members and operators on commercial vessels, such as ships and boats.
- Employees operating buses, trains, and other public transportation vehicles.
- Employees working in nuclear power plants, where safety and precision are critical.
- Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency responders.
- Employees working on high-risk construction sites, such as those involved in operating heavy machinery.
- Certain industrial roles where safety is paramount, such as machine operators in factories.
For drivers, the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing requirements are crucial to ensure they are not impaired while operating vehicles, guaranteeing the safety of themselves and other road users. Similarly, for pilots, engineers, conductors, air traffic controllers, ship captains, and railroad workers, being drug and alcohol-free during their duties is vital to maintaining the safety and security of the entire transportation system.
The DOT’s testing program ensures safety, builds public trust, and improves the transportation industry. Following these regulations helps employees protect their licenses and businesses, making the transportation network safer and more dependable in Arkansas and nationwide.
What is the DOT’s Drug Testing Process in Arkansas?
The DOT’s testing program applies to employees at different points of their employment, whether they work for themselves or larger companies in Arkansas. Under DOT regulations, employees must undergo testing in the following situations:
- Pre-employment testing – Before getting hired for safety-sensitive jobs, employees must take a drug and alcohol test. A positive result may result in job denial.
- Random testing – Safety-sensitive employees can be randomly selected for drug and alcohol testing. At least 50% are tested for drugs and 10% for alcohol each year.
- Reasonable suspicion testing – If there is a reasonable belief of drug or alcohol use, employees must undergo testing.
- Post-accident testing – After work-related accidents causing serious injuries, fatalities, or property damage, employees must take a drug and alcohol test.
- Return-to-duty testing – Employees who previously tested positive must complete substance abuse treatment and pass a “return-to-duty” test before resuming safety-sensitive duties.
- Follow-up testing – Even after returning to work, employees with previous positive tests must undergo follow-up testing.
The DOT drug testing panels include:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
The testing process involves these steps:
- Employers inform employees about the testing procedures and protocols.
- A trained collector collects a urine sample from the employee, properly labeling and sealing it.
- The sample is divided into primary and split specimens. The primary specimen is sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.
- The primary specimen undergoes an immunoassay test, and if positive, a confirmation test using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
- The Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviews the results and contacts the employee for positive results. The MRO checks for valid medical explanations for positive results.
- The MRO reports the results to the employer, and if positive, the employee is removed from safety-sensitive duties.
- Positive-testing employees must complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow-up testing, passing a return-to-duty test before resuming safety-sensitive duties.
Having this procedure in place enables employers and employees to prioritize compliance. DOT regulations require ongoing testing and reporting, emphasizing the importance of not only initial compliance but also establishing a consistent regimen to ensure continuous adherence to the program.
How Accurate Are DOT Drug Tests?
DOT drug tests are generally considered to be highly accurate when conducted following the prescribed procedures and using certified laboratories. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has stringent regulations in place to ensure the accuracy and reliability of drug testing for safety-sensitive employees. Here are some factors that contribute to the accuracy of DOT drug tests:
- Certified laboratories – The DOT requires drug testing to be conducted at certified laboratories. These laboratories must meet strict standards and undergo regular inspections to maintain their certification. They use sophisticated equipment and follow standardized procedures to analyze urine samples.
- Chain of custody – The chain of custody is a critical aspect of drug testing accuracy. It ensures that the sample is properly collected, handled, and transported from the collection site to the laboratory without tampering or contamination. Proper documentation at each stage of the process maintains the integrity of the sample.
- Rigorous procedures – The DOT has established specific procedures for drug testing, and these are followed to maintain consistency and accuracy across all tests. Employees collecting the samples are trained to follow these procedures precisely.
- Panels and cutoff levels – The DOT mandates a standard 5-panel drug test, which tests for five specified substances. The cutoff levels for each drug are set to reduce the likelihood of false positives and false negatives.
- Confirmatory testing – If a sample tests positive in the initial screening, it undergoes a confirmatory test using a different analytical method. This two-step testing process helps minimize the chance of false positives and increases accuracy.
- Quality control – Certified laboratories are required to implement robust quality control measures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their testing procedures.
While the DOT’s drug testing program takes precautions to be accurate, no test is 100% perfect. Some factors, like sample contamination or handling errors, can affect results. The program tries to minimize issues through training, quality control, and strict protocols. Your belief about drug use doesn’t impact the test’s accuracy. If you or any other employee tests positive, it can have serious consequences for your job and career in safety-sensitive industries.
Contact Fleet Drug Testing Today
At Fleet Drug Testing, our team can make sure your company keeps moving. By using our network of DOT testing locations, you can make sure your fleet stays compliant with DOT drug testing regulations. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today. Also visit our enrollment page to see our other programs.