One of the nation’s largest states in terms of land area, Pennsylvania offers numerous opportunities throughout the transportation industry. However, this comes with strict federal regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT), which includes a highly-controlled drug testing program.

At Fleet Drug Testing, we can help you stay compliant with all DOT regulations. When it comes to drug testing, our programs cover all your bases, including helping you find convenient testing locations near you. Whether your route is based around Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, we have you covered. Contact us today to get started or visit our enrollment page to look at our programs.

What is the DOT’s Drug Testing Process in Pennsylvania?

The DOT’s drug testing program ensures accurate and consistent testing, offering assurance to employees and their companies that it’s done professionally and in line with regulations. This applies across Pennsylvania, whether you work in the trucking, aviation, or rail industry. Generally, the process plays out like this:

  • Notification – Employees are informed of the need for drug testing, including the requirements.

  • Collection – A trained collector gathers a urine or other sample from the employee in a proper and professional manner.

  • Split samples – The collected sample is divided into two containers (A and B), sealed in front of the employee, ensuring two separate samples for testing.

  • Laboratory testing – The sample is sent to a DHHR and NLCP-certified laboratory for testing for drug or alcohol substances.

  • MRO review – The Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviews the results, contacting the employee if clarification is needed or if concerns arise.

  • Reporting – The MRO informs the employer about the test results.

  • Employment action – Depending on the results, appropriate actions are taken. Positive results may lead to the employee being removed from their safety-sensitive position, with potential requirements for a substance abuse treatment program before returning to work.

Making sure every drug test result is accurate is crucial for both employees and employers in Pennsylvania. It goes beyond rules, impacting business operations and supporting families. For safety-sensitive employees and transportation managers in the state, being prepared is crucial for effectively navigating DOT regulations.

How Can You Prepare For a DOT Drug Test in Pennsylvania?

Under DOT regulations, safety-sensitive employees–like truck drivers, bus drivers, air traffic controllers, pilots–are required to undergo drug and alcohol testing in specific scenarios: 

  • Prior to being hired, or pre-employment
  • After an accident with injuries or damage
  • Random intervals, where a certain percentage of employees must undergo drug and alcohol testing annually, with current rates set at 50% for drug testing and 10% for alcohol testing.
  • Before returning to duty after testing positive
  • Following up after a positive test

DOT drug testing typically covers five substances: 

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

While testing options vary for these substances, DOT-regulated drug tests specifically require urine or saliva samples.


Knowing when and how you’re tested can make the process easier, but it’s still important to be prepared and approach the test seriously. In order to make sure your test is accurate, make sure to do the following in preparation:

  • Avoid drugs causing false positives; inform the administrator about prescribed medications.
  • Stay adequately hydrated, but don’t overdo it, especially when providing a urine sample. Notify the administrator if you face challenges in providing the sample.
  • Follow the administrator’s instructions, and bring a valid photo ID like a driver’s license or passport.
  • Be on time for the test. Also make sure to fully complete paperwork and provide a good sample.

Being ready for the test is vital for accurate results, benefiting both you and your employer. Following DOT regulations guarantees smooth operations and supports your family, underscoring the importance of being prepared for potential drug tests.

What Can Cause You to Fail a DOT Drug Test in Pennsylvania?

Being prepared for a DOT drug test is only part of the equation and your responsibility as a safety-sensitive employee. The other part is actually being tested–and hopefully testing negative. Even with an understanding of the reasons for testing, many employees still struggle with it. Some common factors that can lead to a failure in a DOT drug test include:

  • Positive test results – If you test positive for illegal substances like marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, or phencyclidine (PCP), it can result in a failed drug test. While there are certain cutoff levels for each substance, finding them in your sample will obviously raise suspicion.

  • Prescription medications – Some prescription medications can also lead to a positive drug test result. Make sure that you disclose any prescription medications you’re taking to the testing facility, and provide supporting documentation if necessary.

  • Inadequate or tainted samples – Failing to provide a sufficient sample–or worse, being caught with a tainted sample–during the test may also result in a failure.

  • Refusal to test – Refusing to undergo a drug test can be grounds for failure. This includes refusing to provide a sample, tampering with the sample, or engaging in any behavior that obstructs the testing process.

  • Alcohol violations – While DOT drug tests primarily focus on illegal substances, alcohol violations can also lead to testing and consequences. Violating alcohol policies, such as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit, can result in failure.

Obviously, there’s a number of things that could potentially cause you to fail a DOT drug test. However, if you’re uncertain about the results or the procedure for requesting a retest, you should talk to your employer or the testing facility. That said, you should be aware of potential outcomes and how our team at Fleet Drug Testing can help you.

Drug Testing Solutions in Pennsylvania

Regardless of your position within the transportation industry in Pennsylvania, it’s very important to follow DOT regulations. To make this easier, Fleet Drug Testing has the programs and solutions you need. We’ll help you find a convenient testing location and our other programs can take care of every aspect of drug testing. Don’t wait–contact us today to get started.