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Understanding Your Pre-Employment DOT Drug Testing Requirements
Mariah Barr
5 mins read
Understanding Your Pre-Employment DOT Drug Testing Requirements

Most FMCSA-regulated business owners understand that drivers are required to take a pre-employment drug test.

Although pre-employment drug testing is a relatively uncomplicated process, there are specific requirements that must be met.

What is a DOT Pre-Employment (PE) Drug Test?

This is the initial urine drug screen that should be given after you have decided to hire an applicant or re-hire a driver who previously worked for you.

Who is Required to Take a DOT Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Drivers are required to take a pre-employment drug test if they:

  • Operate a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of at least 26,001 pounds
  • Operate a vehicle that can transport at least 16 passengers, including the driver
  • Transport hazardous materials that require placarding

Newly hired drivers and returning drivers who have been excluded from a random drug and alcohol testing program for 30 days or longer must complete a pre-employment drug test before operating a commercial motor vehicle. This includes owner-operators and employees of family-run operations.

When Does a DOT Pre-Employment Drug Test Have to be Completed?

The drug test must be completed before a driver begins operating a commercial motor vehicle. This doesn’t mean a driver can go to a collection site, take the test, and immediately hop in a truck to start driving. Before they can legally drive, the entire testing process must be completed. In other words, the urine specimen must be sent to the laboratory and a verified negative result must be received first.

After the drug test is completed, the driver must then be added to a random drug and alcohol testing pool within 30 days.

Related Foley Article: What Drugs Will Disqualify You from Driving a CMV?

Can a Pre-Employment Drug Test That Was Taken with a Different Company Be Used?

Although there are circumstances in which previous drug test results can be used, there are complex stipulations and requirements that must be met to do so. We always recommend completing a new pre-employment drug test any time a driver is hired or rehired.

Where Do You Go to Take a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Most DOT-qualified collection sites are walk-in medical centers. For example, Foley offers a network of collection sites located across the country to companies enrolled in our drug and alcohol testing program.

What Happens if a Pre-Employment Drug Test Comes Back Positive?

If a test produces a positive result, the driver may not begin operating for any company until the entire return-to-duty process is complete. Read more about the return-to-duty process and what it involves here.

Keep in mind that the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse makes it nearly impossible for drivers to apply at various companies without disclosing a past positive drug test result.

What are the Consequences of Not Completing a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

If, for whatever reason, a pre-employment drug test is overlooked, it must be completed as soon as possible. That being said, an incomplete DOT drug test can cause serious problems when an FMCSA audit occurs.

In the case of a New Entrant Safety Audit, an incomplete pre-employment drug screen will result in an automatic failure. If it’s discovered during a Compliance Review, significant fines will be issued.

Ensure Your DOT Pre-Employment Drug Testing Program is Accurate & Compliant

The importance of pre-employment drug testing cannot be overstated. If you have questions or concerns, contact us here at Foley and our team of DOT compliance experts will walk you through the process. 

If you're ready to enroll your drivers in a DOT drug testing program to meet the latest federal regulations, request a free demo of our software solution that automates these complex requirements and makes it easier for your company to stay compliant.

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A Foley expert is ready to help your company create a streamlined hiring, screening, and onboarding process that's easier for your candidate and team, while keeping you compliant with DOT and FMCSA requirements. Fill out this form, and we'll schedule a time for a personalized online demo of Dash.

Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.