The Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program of the Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) follows the DOT’s policy on drug and alcohol testing to join the country’s fight on eliminating the use of prohibited substances. According to statistics, the country spends millions of dollars in damages from accidents caused by individuals under the influence of prohibited drugs and alcohol. Through the implementation of substance abuse programs, the agency is providing a safe work environment for all its employees and those around them.

Here are the basic information on DOT drug and alcohol testing rules for the FTA:

Who are covered by the DOT-FTA drug and alcohol prevention program?

Those who perform safety-sensitive duties under the FTA are covered by the program. These employees can be the following:

  • Employees, applicants, or transferees responsible for performing safety-sensitive duties.
  • Operators, contractors, employees of recipients, and subrecipients.
  • A volunteer can also be covered by the program when he/she holds a commercial driver’s license and is going to operate a vehicle. Also when a volunteer performs a safety-sensitive duty under any organization under the FTA, and gets paid in excess of actual expenses incurred during volunteer work.

When are covered employees tested?

According to DOT, employees are tested during the following circumstances:

  • Pre-employment
  • Random
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Post-accident
  • And return-to-duty (includes follow-up tests)

What are DOT-FTA drug and alcohol prohibitions?

For DOT drug testing, a urine sample is tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, and opiates. Use of any kind of prohibited drugs is not allowed at all times. The prohibited alcohol concentration are 0.02% – 0.039%, and 0.04% or higher. Employees must not consume alcohol 4 hours before scheduled duty, and any time during duty.

How are covered employees tested for alcohol and drug use?

For DOT alcohol screening tests, the saliva or breath is tested for alcohol concentration using approved devices. Only certified breath alcohol technicians (BATs) and screening test technicians (STTs) are allowed to administer tests to ensure that all results are accurate.

For drug tests, a DOT urinalysis is needed. Gathering of urine samples are done by certified collectors only, to ensure that all procedures comply with DOT-FTA regulations. The sample is then split into two; one for testing and the other is tested when the first is found positive of drugs.

What happens to employees tested positive for drug and alcohol use?

An employee caught consuming alcohol and tested with a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02%-0.39% must be removed from duty until the next scheduled duty (not less than 8 hours). Those tested with 0.04% or higher will cease to perform their duties and can only come back after rehabilitation.

Employees tested positive for drug use will be removed from performing their duties. They must talk to the company’s Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for evaluation. The evaluation will determine if an employee can come back to work (after rehabilitation and periodic testing) or be permanently removed from the business.

For more information on DOT-FTA drug and alcohol prevention program, follow the link:

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