DOT Announces Stiffer Drug Testing Rules

The Transportation Department has announced new rules for drug testing required as a safety precaution of millions of transportation workers. The changes are intended in part to protect workers’ rights, according to a department release.The most significant changes, released Thursday, involve “validity testing,” which is meant to detect specimens that have been adulterated or substituted. The rule extends to validity testing the two standard safeguards already in place that protect a worker who tests positive for “drugs of abuse,” such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana.

In the first protection, a physician, hired by the employer, will review test results when a lab indicates the specimen may have been tampered with or substituted. The physician would have the power to cancel the finding of tampering if that result comes from a legitimate medical reason.

In the second case, an employee also can have a different laboratory test a second sample of his or her specimen to make sure the original lab did not make an error.

The government requires drug testing of millions of transportation employees, such as railroad workers, airline mechanics and flight crews, and bus drivers.
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