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DOT Announces Addition of Oral Fluid Drug Testing to Federal Procedures
Mariah Barr
4 mins read

Here's what we know about the DOT oral fluid testing 2023 final ruling.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has published a final ruling to expand its drug testing procedures to include oral fluid testing, effective June 1, 2023. This is a significant change, as the DOT previously allowed only urine drug testing for safety-sensitive positions, and the agency first published guidelines surrounding oral fluid back in October 2019.

In order for employers to use oral fluid drug testing, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will need to certify at least two laboratories for oral fluid testing, which has yet to be completed as of August 31, 2023.

Once HHS has certified an adequate number of laboratories, federally regulated employers will have a less invasive option for drug testing, as swabbing employees' mouths is much easier and less time-consuming than collecting urine samples. Employers are not required to use oral fluid drug testing exclusively, but they will soon have the option to choose between it and urine drug testing.

DOT Drug Testing Flexibility on the Horizon

From an employer’s perspective, it’s easy to see that any testing method that will “screen out” drug users will make the hiring process less taxing, reduce turnover rates, and lower the risk of accidents due to substance abuse. Saliva drug testing gives employers more control over when, where, and how drug screening is completed since it can be administered in-house by a trained individual. 

Having the option to choose from urine or oral fluid drug testing could give employers more flexibility based on the reason for the test and the detection windows of each type. Since oral fluid testing has a generally smaller detection window (five to 48 hours), detecting recent drug use may be more feasible, such as for a post-accident drug test.

When the detection of a potential pattern of drug use is needed, such as during pre-employment, random, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing, a urine test may be used, given the one- to seven-day detection window. 

The turnaround time for saliva drug test results is also much less than for a urine test. Urine drug screens require two days of testing to see current usage levels, while an oral fluid screening can yield results within a few hours.

Trust Foley for DOT Oral Fluid Testing 2023 Developments

The upcoming expansion of federal drug testing options to include oral fluid testing is a positive development for employers and employees in safety-sensitive positions. It provides a less invasive and potentially more accurate drug testing method while maintaining compliance with DOT regulations.

Foley's drug and alcohol testing experts are closely watching the development of this federal ruling and will continue to provide you with the most recent updates. And if you're looking for a DOT drug testing partner or Clearinghouse query management, we have you covered there too.

Schedule your free demo of our DOT drug testing services now and ensure you meet the latest federal regulations, especially as oral fluid drug testing is expected to be introduced to safety-sensitive employers shortly.

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