Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the collector?
A collector is a person who instructs and assists employees at a collection site, who receives and makes an initial inspection of the specimen provided by those employees, and who initiates and completes the CCF.
The collector is the one individual in the drug testing process who has direct, face to face contact with the employee. Without the collector ensuring the integrity of the urine specimen and collection process, the test itself may lose credibility.
Who is the Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is a person who is a licensed physician and who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.
As a MRO, you act as an independent and impartial "gatekeeper" and advocate for the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. You provide quality assurance review of the drug testing process for the specimens under your purview, determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for laboratory confirmed positive, adulterated, substituted and invalid drug test results, ensure the timely flow of test result and other information to employers and protect the confidentiality of the drug testing information.
Who is the Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT)?
The Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and/or Screening Test Technician (STT) is a person who instructs and assists employees in the alcohol testing process and operates an evidential breath testing or alcohol screening device, respectively.
The BAT and STT play a vital role in the success of the DOT alcohol testing program. The STT and BAT directly interact with the employee and instantaneously provide the employee with an alcohol test result. As such, the BAT and/or STT must be
knowledgeable and proficient in the testing procedures.
Who is the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)?
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.
As a SAP you represent the major decision point (and in some cases the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car, or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline. Their responsibility to the public is enormous!
As a SAP you are advocate for neither the employer nor the employee. Your function is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending appropriate education and/or treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare.
When can I be tested?
Pre-employment testing: Occurs prior to hire or transfer into a safety-sensitive function. The employer may choose to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing.
Random testing: Unannounced on an ongoing basis, spread reasonably throughout the calendar year, using a scientifically valid method in which each covered employee has an equal chance of being selected for testing.
Post-accident testing: Occurs following a FAA qualifying accident.
Reasonable Cause/Suspicion testing: Occurs when a company official - based on their training - believes the employee shows signs of drug abuse and/or alcohol misuse.
Return-to-duty and Folow-up testing: Occurs after an employee has a verified positive drug test, positive alcohol test result or refusal to test. The employee must take a DOT return-to-duty test prior to returning to safety-sensitive functions.
The employee will be subject to a minimum of 6 unannounced follow-up tests in the first 12 months. Depending on the Substance Abuse Professional's recommendations, follow-up testing may occur for up to 60 months.
In addition to DOT testing, your company may have its own testing program.
What specimens are collected for testing?
Testing for drugs: A urine specimen is collected and sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.
- Devices that provide instant results are not authorized for DOT testing.
- Only urine specimens are authorized for DOT drug testing.
Testing for alcohol: Alcohol testing involves analyzing your breath or saliva for initial (screening) tests and breath for confirmation tests. The specimen is collected and analyzed using an approved alcohol testing device.
What drugs am I tested for?
- Opiates (codeine, morphine, heroin)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
What is considered misuse of alcohol?
Misuse of alcohol is:
- Reporting for or remaining on duty with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater
- Using alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions
- Using alcohol within 8 hours following an accident, unless a post-accident test was administered or the employer determined the employee's performance could not have
caused the accident
- Flight Crewmembers and Flight Attendants using alcohol within 8 hours of performing functions. Any other covered employee using alcohol within 4 hours of performing functions.
Alcohol misuse is a violation of the regulations and has consequences.
NOTE: For actions related to alcohol concentrations of 0.020 to 0.039, refer to section 14 CFR Part 121 Appendix J, II(G) of FAA's regulation.
What is a refusal to test?
Refusals include, but are not limited to:
- No-show (failure to appear at the test collection site at the designated time)
- Failure to remain at the testing site until the collection is completed
- Adulteration (urine specimen containing a substance or a concentration of a substance inconsistent with human urine)
- Substitution (urine specimen containing creatinine and specific gravity levels inconsistent with human urine)
- Failure to cooperate with any part of the testing process
What are the consequences of a verified positive drug test, refusal to test or alcohol violation?
- You will be immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties by your employer.
- Your company policy and/or collective bargaining agreement will determine whether you will be permitted an opportunity for rehabilitation or may be terminated from employment.
- You are not permitted to perform safety-sensitive duties for any DOT regulated employer until you have been evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and successfully completed the return-to-duty process, which includes a DOT
return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test.
- Working in a safety-sensitive position before successfully completing the return-to-duty process is a violation of the regulations.
- If you return to performing safety-sensitive functions - after successfully completing the SAP return-to-duty process - you will be subject to unannounced follow up testing, which will be in addition to any other required DOT testing.
- If you hold a certificate issued by the FAA, it may be revoked.
Will my test results follow me to other employers?
- Yes, your DOT drug and alcohol testing history will follow you to your new DOT regulated employer.
- DOT regulated employers are required by law to provide certain records of your DOT drug and alcohol testing history to your new DOT regulated employer, only when you sign a specific written release regarding that information.
- If you do not provide written consent for the release of this information, the new employer cannot allow you to perform safety-sensitive functions.