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Safety is the number one priority in the transportation industry, and DOT-covered agencies and employees are at the forefront of ensuring it. The US Department of Transportation provides a complete set of regulations for safety-sensitive positions, but who is subjected under DOT guidelines — let’s explore DOT-covered employees.

DOT-covered employees are agency-specific

More information:

DOT Safety Audit 101: Key Insights for Commercial Motor

DOT Rules and Regulations You Can't Afford to Ignore

DOT-covered employees are agency-specific

Regarding DOT agency-specific covered employees, it's crucial to recognize that the definition can vary across different agencies. Each Department of Transportation (DOT) agency represents a specific mode of transportation, resulting in distinct classifications for employees. This means that there are notable differences between the covered employees of, for instance, trucking companies and those employed by airlines.

Read about: How Trucking Companies can be DOT Compliant?

DOT-covered agencies and employees

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The FMCSA regulates and ensures the safety of commercial motor vehicles having:

  • Gross combination weight of 26,001 lbs
  • Vehicles with a carrying capacity of 16 passengers
  • Vehicles carrying hazardous materials

It covers employees in the trucking and bus industries, such as CDL drivers, and dispatchers

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The FAA is responsible for regulating and overseeing civil aviation within the United States.

The FAA-covered employees include Air Traffic Controllers, Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, Aircraft Inspectors, Aviation Safety Inspectors, Flight dispatchers, Flight attendants, Aviation Safety Program Managers, and Airfield Operations Specialists.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

The FRA oversees railroad safety and sets regulations for employees in the railroad industry, including train operators, signalmen, track maintenance workers, and railroad dispatchers.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

The PHMSA is responsible for regulating the transportation of hazardous materials by pipeline and other modes.

PHMSA covered employees involved in the transportation, operation, and maintenance of pipelines, as well as employees handling hazardous liquids.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

The USCG agency is responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental protection. It covers vessel operators, marine inspectors, and marine safety specialists.

What are the types of drug and alcohol tests for DOT-covered employees?

DOT-covered employees are required to undergo various types of drug and alcohol tests, depending on the circumstances and the agency they work for. The following are the common types of tests:

Pre-employment: Conducted before an employee begins performing safety-sensitive functions for the first time or after a break in service.

Random Drug & Alcohol Testing: Conducted on an unannounced and unpredictable basis throughout the year, using a scientifically valid selection method. Read more: How Frequently Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Required?

Post-accident: After an accident or incident involving a safety-sensitive employee, depending on the nature and severity of the event.

Reasonable suspicion: Conducted when a trained supervisor or official has a reasonable belief that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, based on specific and documented observations of the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, or performance.

Return-to-duty drug test: Conducted after an employee has violated the drug and alcohol rules and has completed the required evaluation and treatment, before resuming their duties.

Follow-up: Conducted after an employee has returned to duty, as part of a follow-up testing plan that is determined by a substance abuse professional.


Refusing Drug Test What are the Consequences?

Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates a broad spectrum of transportation agencies, each with its own set of regulated employees. Understanding the various categories of DOT agencies and DOT-covered employees is critical for assuring compliance, upholding safety standards, and encouraging safe and efficient operation. Contact goMDnow for DOT drug and alcohol testing programs while being fully compliant throughout the process.

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