Non-DOT Drug and Alcohol Compliance

Drivers and companies who exceed certain vehicle thresholds established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are required to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing regulations. These set standards pertain to drivers or companies that operate commercial vehicles that:

Hold a gross weight of 10,001 or more pounds, or
Transport more than 8 passengers for compensation, or
Transport more than 15 passengers without, or
Transport materials found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous.

As an employer, if your company's driving requirements do not match any of these DOT regulations, you may be DOT-exempt from following federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. DOT-exempt employers have a wider range of options to explore when it comes to workplace drug and alcohol testing policies. However, when developing and navigating non-DOT workplace testing policies, be sure to refer to your state's workplace drug and alcohol testing legislation to ensure compliance.

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Non-DOT Drug Testing Info

DOT vs. Non-DOT Drug Test

Employers who must comply with DOT regulations are required to follow specific drug testing requirements. For instance, under DOT regulations, employers are required to use a 5-panel drug test that screens applicants and employees for marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP) using urinalysis.

On the other hand, employers who aren't required to follow DOT regulations still have the ability to conduct their own non-DOT drug testing. A non-DOT 10-panel drug test is recommended for employers to screen for the above substances as well as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene and methaqualone. It may also be helpful for non-DOT employers to refer to DOT drug testing cutoff concentrations for guidance.

Non-DOT Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Test

In addition to state background checks for employment, it's highly recommended that non-DOT employers also conduct pre-employment drug tests. Using DOT pre-employment drug testing regulations as a reference, non-DOT employers should always conduct drug testing on applicants using a U.S. Department of Health certified laboratory service. Be sure to refer to your state's employee drug testing legislation to ensure complete compliance before conducting any non-DOT pre-employment drug testing.

Non-DOT Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

While most non-DOT employees are not required to possess a CDL driver's license or follow federal drug and alcohol testing requirements, the safety-sensitive nature of any employee position that requires driving demonstrates a potential need for random drug and alcohol testing.

As with pre-employment testing, non-DOT employers should first refer to their state-specific employee drug and alcohol testing prior to conducting random testing. If state regulations permit random drug and alcohol screening in your industry, non-DOT employers can refer to DOT best practices when conducting random drug and alcohol testing to ensure each employee has an equal chance of being selected.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a non-DOT drug test?

A non-DOT drug test is a form of employee or applicant drug testing that is used by employers of a company that is not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

What does a non-DOT drug test look for?

Non-DOT employers may conduct drug testing using a 10-panel drug test which screens employees and applicants for marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP), benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, and methaqualone.

What is the difference between non-DOT and DOT screening?

A non-DOT drug and alcohol screening is conducted by employers who are not regulated by the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) whereas DOT screenings must follow federal drug and alcohol testing regulations.

This Information Is Not Intended for Legal Purposes

The information provided on this page is intended for your own knowledge, and should not be used for legal matters. Please seek the advice of a legal expert regarding legal advice for drug testing laws in your state.


"1.3 Who Must Comply with the FMCSRs and HMRs?" Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, sec=40
"DOT 5 Panel Notice." U.S. Department of Transportation,
"§ 40.87 What are the cutoff concentrations for drug tests?" U.S. Department of Transportation,
"Part 40 - Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs." Code of Federal Regulations,
"Best Practices for DOT Random Drug and Alcohol Testing." U.S. Department of Transportation,