A rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) could add a new type of drug test for transportation employees covered by federal regulations.
The notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register Feb. 28, and would see the addition of oral fluid drug testing to combat employee cheating on urine drug tests.
This would also “give employers a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of a drug testing program,” according to Kathryn Russo, an attorney with Jackson Lewis.
There’s benefits to both types
Each type of test offers different benefits for detecting illegal drug use.
For example, the oral fluid test has a window of detection for marijuana up to 24 hours after use while urine tests can detect marijuana from 3 to 67 days.
Adding another type of test could also be useful if a second sample collection is required.
Saliva and urine samples can’t be collected simultaneously, but a different specimen can be collected if there’s a problem with the initial collection.
For example, if an insufficient quantity of urine or saliva is collected for the first test then another test could be conducted using the other specimen type.
Department is seeking comments
DOT is looking for comments on a variety of topics related to the proposed rule, including:
- the accuracy of both urine and oral fluid tests’ windows of detection
- who should be permitted to collect oral fluid specimens
- who should decide whether a different specimen should be collected, and
- how employers and collection sites should communicate about the need for a different specimen.
Comments are due by March 30, 2022, and can be submitted here.