To understand why DOT Drug Testing is necessary, we must first examine the nature of it. DOT Drug Testing regulations came about in 1991 after Congress passed the “Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991” to protect the American people from transportation workers who may be abusing substances while on the job. Pilots drinking on the job and truckers under the influence may be what comes to mind, but these regulations include a wide range of other safety-sensitive duties including railroad workers, pipeline workers, and even nuclear reactor workers. The standards that the DOT continues to set the bar for collection procedures and Drug-Free Workplace Policies across North America.
Highest Standards in the Industry
Since Congress passed the “Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991” the United States Department of Transportation has forged a path into the largely unknown frontier of drug testing regulation. They were among the first to adopt and require reliable standards for workplace testing, Drug-Free Workplace Policies, and procedures for collection. Continuously adapted and revisited to meet and anticipate changes and procedural weaknesses, DOT Regulations in 49 CFR Part 40 have become the highest standards in the drug testing industry throughout North America.
Safety and Security of the Collection Process
The DOT has been perfecting the collection process for over 20 years. If any one entity can say “they have seen it all” it would be the United States Department of Transportation, but even they continue to improve. That is one of the benefits of DOT Training, every five years, DOT collectors undergo refresher training to learn about changes and to “refresh” their memory on prior training procedures. Because the DOT has such an important mandate to protect the American people from accidents related to substance abuse, their procedures are almost always going to ensure the best possibility for collection safety, security, and specimen integrity.
Consider Bob and John. Bob has his Driver’s License and John has a Driver’s License, a Racing License, and is a trained stunt driver. Both are legally able to drive on the highway, but who would be best able to handle a potential head-on collision? John’s training as a racer and a stunt driver would certainly give him the best chance at avoiding that serious accident. This situation can be used to compare the difference in risk and potential liability for drug testing collectors who simply have Non-DOT collection training (Bob) and those who are trained in both Non-DOT and DOT regulations (John). Even during Non-DOT collections, a trained DOT Collector is better able to recognize, handle, and avoid the risk of a potentially hazardous collection.
Whether you own a drug testing business already, are starting one, or are a plan administrator, DOT Training can only improve your opportunity and effectiveness. DOT training includes many procedural guidelines that can be crossed over easily into less regulated, non-DOT collections to improve the safety and security of the overall collection process. Even if you never perform one DOT collection, the benefits of training for all future collections make DOT training a valuable investment; however, never completing a DOT collection would be highly unlikely. According to the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, in 2011 alone there were 11,381,000 transportation and transportation-related workers. Of that, there were approximately 4.3 million in the for-hire transportation services industry, which has grown or remained steady since 1995. Of the workers in the for-hire transportation services industry, 2.7 million were employed as truck drivers, the single largest provider of donors in DOT drug and alcohol testing. The opportunity is out there for those with the skills, training, and ambition, it is up to them to make the first step.