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The Differences Between DOT & Non-DOT Drug Testing Programs

  • By: Andrew Easler, Esq.
  • Published: Jun, 30 2015
  • Updated: Dec, 20 2022

Suggested Courses: DOT Urine Specimen Collection, Non-DOT Urine Specimen Collection

Drug and alcohol testing play important roles in all businesses, regardless of industry. However, you’ll find that when it comes to DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements, transportation companies and the drug and alcohol testing programs catering to them must comply with significantly more stringent regulations. What are the key differences here? Actually, the US DOT spells them out on the agency’s website, but let’s run down a list of the most salient requirements for DOT drug and alcohol programs.


First and foremost, the US DOT requires that DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol tests be conducted separately “in all respects”. This means that DOT and non-DOT tests cannot be conducted at the same time, and often not within the same organization. They cannot be combined, commingled, or conducted simultaneously for any reason.


In testing programs that serve both DOT and non-DOT organizations, DOT drug and alcohol testing takes priority in all instances. These tests must be conducted and concluded before any non-DOT tests can be performed. Additionally, remnants of DOT testing materials (urine, for instance) cannot be used in non-DOT testing (a new void must be taken for non-DOT testing).

No Unauthorized Tests

While non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements allow specimens to be used for multiple purposes, DOT tests are different. With DOT-specific tests, except in certain situations, samples can only be used for the specific purpose for which they were taken. DNA tests cannot be conducted with these specimens, and testing for additional drugs is also prohibited. The sole exception to this rule is with specimens taken during a required physical examination for testing related to the physical exam.

No Changes

One of the most important differences between DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements is that non-DOT test results cannot be used to supersede DOT test results. For instance, a negative non-DOT test cannot supersede a positive DOT test for the same individual.

Use of CCF and ATF

DOT tests must use CCF and ATF forms, but non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements specifically prohibit the use of these forms in any way whatsoever.

As you can see, the requirements for DOT tests are far more stringent than non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements. It is essential to work with a firm that understands these important differences.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it. We give great legal advice, but this page (and the rest of our site) is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual legal advice. If you’d like to establish an attorney-client relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official. Sending us an email or reading this page alone doesn’t mean we represent you.

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