Many employers wonder whether they are covered under the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT drug & alcohol testing regulations. Here is a primer regarding the different modes that fall under DOT. All are covered under 49 CFR Part 40, and each mode has its own set of regulations:

1) Aviation (FAA): If you’re employed in safety-sensitive roles like pilot, flight attendant, flight instructor, aircraft dispatcher, operations control specialist or air traffic control you are covered under

2) Truck or School Bus (FMCSA): If you operate a truck or a bus with a gross weight of 26,001 or more lbs, or of any size that is used to transport hazardous materials that requires placarding, you are subject to drug & alcohol testing regulations covered under

This includes individuals who may operate these vehicles only occasionally, like mechanics who must conduct test drives, and supervisors, who may fill in when a regular driver is unavailable.

3) Public transportation (FTA): If you operate a transit revenue service vehicle, a non-revenue vehicle or armed security vehicle you are covered under following regulation

4) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials (PHMSA): If you perform the operational maintenance and emergency functions of pipelines regulated under 49 CFR part 193 that transports liquefied natural gas or 49 CFR part 192 that transports natural gas you are subject to drug and alcohol test covered under

Random alcohol testing is not authorised under PHMSA regulations, though the random drug testing rate is higher than other modes.

5) Railroad (FRA): If you perform the function of a train employee, dispatch employee or signal employee, at least once a quarter you are subject to drug and alcohol test regulations under

  • FRA (49 CFR part 219)

Categories of personnel who are normally required to participate are locomotive engineers, trainmen, conductors, switchmen, locomotive hostlers/helpers, utility employees, signalmen, operators, and train dispatchers.

FRA’s post-accident testing rule requires urine and blood specimen collection from surviving employees and also tissue from deceased employees (these collection procedures go well beyond the normal Part 40 procedures).

6) Coast Guard (USCG): Coast Guard is a bit different because it also includes military. An individual who is on board a vessel acting under the authority of a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariner’s document is covered. Also, a person engaged or employed on board a U.S. owned vessel and such vessel is required to engage, employ or be operated by a person holding a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariner’s document.

  • 46 CFR Part 4.06 and 33 CFR Part 95.035 detail the USCG rules for alcohol testing.