Oral and Hair DOT Testing and ELD Mandate

Posted by: Admin - June 19, 2019

What about Oral And Hair Testing?

Many members of the commercial vehicle operator and transportation community in the country are concerned about the inclusion of oral and hair testing for substance use and abuse in the random DOT drug and Alcohol testing programs. Hair testing and the fluid collection were proposed to be included in the drug-testing menu a few years back.

Urine analysis has been a preferred and accepted methodology for random DOT drug and alcohol testing whether for the purpose of pre-employment or establishing reasonable cause/suspicion and/ or post-incident testing. According to this new rule which was supposed to be cleared for use in the DOT programs in the year 2016, oral fluids can be used for determining the probability of impairment. The reason is that one can easily see the presence of a substance/drug or its metabolite in the subject’s system (oral fluids). These are present there for several hours even after ingestion.

Coming to hair follicles now, despite the fact that hair follicle testing is fast gaining popularity, it is not being considered an ideal way to determine drug-induced impairment in commercial vehicle operators for now. However, hair strands can effectively indicate the use of drugs or any substance by the subject over a 90-day period. This is why some employers readily prefer this method for pre-employment testing. This can be helpful in determining the driver’s drug use, their lifestyle and risk potential.

Clarification on Specimen Types

If you go by the updates you can conclude that at the present time the only method of determining impairment is urine drug testing specimens. No other method or specimen is allowed for DOT regulated testing. Part 40 has stated clearly that only urine specimens are allowed to be tested for drug and alcohol use and abuse and that these need to be screened and confirmed at HHS-certified laboratories only. Thus the methodologies that are currently not permitted under part 40 are:

  • Point of collection testing (POCT)
  • Hair testing
  • Oral fluid testing

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What Is The ELD Mandate Deadline?

We are in the year 2019 which will bring in the final ELD mandate deadline. So if you are among the many commercial vehicle drivers who are still using an AOBRD, be prepared to make the big switch. You will have to pick an ELD by December 16. In case you had purchased your AOBRD before the initial compliance deadline was issued in the year 2016, you must’ve been allowed to continue to use your devices for 2 more years after that.

DOT Compliance Group will keep you updated on the same as the year progresses. Don’t forget to visit us again to find out about the Anticipated Hours of Service Reform as well. These are said to bring more relief to the transport industry. But let’s get back to the ELD mandate.

Who All Are Going To Be Affected By The ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate is going to impact everyone involved in commercial driving. Commercial vehicle operators will be required to keep records of hours of service. This means that every driver or operator who has been using paper logbooks up until now is going to have to make a switch to a more secure and digital record keeping method.

So if you are driving or operating under any of the following settings you will be affected by this mandate:

  • Drivers or operators of interstate commercial motor vehicles who are currently required to keep a Record Of Duty Status (RODS)
  • Vehicles weighing 10,001 pounds or more
  • Vehicles with placarded hazmat loads
  • Motor vehicles built to carry or already carrying more than 8 or 15 passengers (this will largely depend on the class of the vehicle)

There are a few vehicle classes and commercial drivers that are exempt from this rule such as:

  • Drivers operating within a 100-air-mile radius (they may use time cards still)
  • Non-CDL (or commercial driving license holders) or freight drivers operating within a 150-air-mile radius
  • Drive-away or tow-away vehicle operators
  • Vehicles manufactured before the year 2000

For more insights and information on related topics, discussion regarding DOT compliance Service, alcohol testing programs, rules and regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and DOT physical exam, you can visit DOT Compliance Group.