Ask the Safety Rep: How do drug testing changes affect employers?

Pee sample cup

On January 1, 2018, the final rule went into effect amending 49 CFR Part 40. The DOT announced several revisions, most notably the addition of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to its drug-testing panel, as well as methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte. The final rule also removed methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte.

The changes also clarified existing drug testing program provisions and definitions, such as amending the word “opiate” to “opioid”; removing the blind specimen requirement for Health and Human Services (HHS) certified labs; and adding a few technical updates to Part 40. Three
new fatal flaws and a “questionable specimen” testing protocol were added, as well. Fatal flaws can cause a drug test to be canceled; fatal flaws now include the following: the specimen has no drug testing custody and control form (CCF), multiple collections were conducted using only one CCF, and there was no specimen submitted to the laboratory with the CCF. 

And finally, all personnel involved in the drug testing process are now required to subscribe to the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance email notification system. Employers can subscribe to the email lists by going to

These drug testing changes affect all employees and employers who must comply with DOT regulations. For more information about the new drug testing changes, including those not listed here, go to

Call to Action

  • Communicate the new drug testing changes to personnel responsible for drug testing drivers.

  • Conduct reasonable suspicion training for all supervisors in accordance with 49 CFR 382.603.

  • Establish a written procedure ensuring applicants cannot be road tested or perform a safety-sensitive function until a negative pre-employment drug and alcohol test result is received.


The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent. 

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This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.