‐ Reminder Notice ‐
Direct Observation In Effect For
All DOT Return‐to‐Duty & Follow‐Up Drug Testing
● DOT Return‐to‐Duty (RTD) and Follow‐Up drug tests are applicable to return‐to‐duty, safety‐sensitive transportation industry employees ‐‐ truck and bus drivers, train engineers, pilots, subway operators, ship captains, & pipeline emergency response personnel, among others ‐‐ who have already failed or refused to take a prior test.
● The Department carefully considered the safety need for this mandatory Direct Observation requirement; and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously agreed that the Department’s action was reasonable, justified, and Constitutional.
● Conducting all DOT RTD and Follow‐Up tests under Direct Observation has been an employer requirement of Federal law since August 31, 2009.
‐ ‐ This includes the RTD and Follow‐Up tests of employees whose initial violations of DOT rules occurred or whose series of DOT Follow‐Up tests began before August 31, 2009.
‐ ‐ This also includes employees determined by the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to need Follow‐Up drug testing in addition to Follow‐Up alcohol testing.
● Direct Observation must include a same gender observer’s check for prosthetic and other devices that could be used to cheat a drug test. This check is in addition to the observer’s subsequently watching the employee urinate into the collection container.
● If a collector, Medical Review Officer (MRO), Third Party Administrator (TPA), or other service agent learns that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to be informed.
‐ ‐ Upon learning that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to direct the employee to have an immediate recollection under Direct Observation.
‐ ‐ Subsequently, MROs will follow the procedures at 40.162(b) for working with multiple verified results for the same testing event.
● No other tests [e.g., Pre‐employment, Random] can be substituted for DOT RTD and Follow‐Up testing.
● Service Agents – such as SAPs, collectors, MROs, and TPAs – should periodically remind employers they serve that all DOT RTD and Follow‐Up tests must be conducted under Direct Observation.