Staying compliant with new DOT regulations

by Nicole Jupe on November 29, 2017

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its drug testing program regulations for all DOT employees effective January 1, 2018. This harmonizes DOT regulations with guidelines established by U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) for federal drug testing programs. The most notable change with this new regulation is the addition of four Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids to the test panel: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a November 13 bulletin, “The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport. The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology,  Quest Diagnostics was interviewed by Transport Topics and said, “We fully expect to have more laboratory positives. And, I would expect there will be more Medical Review Officer positives as well. There will be additional specimens that screen positive that in the past would have been verified negatives. So those will have a longer turnaround time.”

Understanding the language in the Final Rule can be challenging. Therefore, our experts have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the new guidance in an effort to prepare you for the DOT deadline.

Will there be a new name for the 5-panel DOT test since it will include additional drugs?

The DOT still considers this a 5-panel drug test, because there are no new classes, or groups, of drugs. Because all of these drugs are opioids, the test will continue to be referred to as a 5-panel test.

What is the difference between the terms opiates and opioids?
The term opiate has historically referred to a psychoactive substance found in, or derived from, the opium poppy, with certain structural characteristics common to the entire class. Opioid is a more modern term and includes naturally occurring (e.g., morphine), semi-synthetic (e.g., oxycodone), and synthetic (e.g., fentanyl) substances, as well as antagonists (e.g., naloxone) that interact (bind) with the opiate receptor in the body. In the context of the new DOT regulations, “opioids” refers to six specific opioid drugs included in the DOT panel.

Has Quest Diagnostics made any recent changes to its opiates panel?
Yes. We began using a new reagent/assay in April 2017 that is more sensitive and specific for detecting hydrocodone and hydromorphone in our semi-synthetic opiates immunoassay screening (initial) test. This enhancement offers a greater ability to detect these opiates.

Will my DOT look-alike drug test panel change on January 1, 2018?
No. This new regulation only impacts automatic changes made to the DOT drug testing on January 1, 2018. If you want your non-regulated panel, or DOT look-alike panel, to mirror the new DOT drug test panel, please contact your Sales or Account Management representative to make these changes.

When will the Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) change with the new regulations?
Federal CCF forms used for DOT drug testing will not change until after January 1, 2018. Additionally, the 2014 Federal CCF is authorized for use until June 30, 2018. At this time, you should not order new paper CCF forms. For more information, see the DOT’s Notice: Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form

Can I use electronic Custody and Control Forms (eCCF) for DOT drug testing?
Yes. The eCCF process helps to bear the administrative burden and the eCCF form is available to begin using today, at no additional cost. Benefits of eCCF include fewer data-entry and legibility issues, less paper to manage, and improved overall efficiency. Get started today.

We are refining our laboratory testing and updating our IT systems to comply with all DOT requirements. Rest assured that all of Quest Diagnostics drug testing laboratories will be ready on January 1, 2018. Contact your Quest Diagnostics representative if you have additional questions about this new guidance.

The DOT Drug Testing: Employer DOT Policies – the Part 40 Changes helps to clarify company policy issues.

The most current guidance, DOT Drug Testing: Part 40 – Employee Notice, was published on December 12, 2017.

Read the full text or the Part 40 Final Rule – DOT summary of changes.

Get news and updates via email from the DOT by subscribing to the notification system , or list serve.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


While conducting your day-to-day interactions with Employer Solutions, you may have heard about other areas of Quest. Today we’d like to highlight another group that provides valuable services to employers, Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness.

The Health & Wellness division of Quest is the nation’s leading provider of biometric wellness screenings, flu shots, and related preventive services for employers. Each year, more than 3.5 million American adults undergo wellness screenings, and over 500,000 flu shots are administered during these screenings. With unrivaled access and flexible collection methods, including access to 2,200 Patient Service Centers nationwide, Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness helps reduce barriers to participation and enhance employee-sponsored, wellness screening program flexibility in order to lead employees to the right care at the right time.

By offering compelling screening insights in easy-to-understand personalized reporting, Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness helps employees and their partners identify and understand disease risks. Within that reporting, individualized health-improvement solutions are also recommended, enabling participants to make healthier choices ­– choices that result in reduced healthcare costs and lives saved. In fact, wellness screening participants have an average 2-year healthcare-related savings of $884 per person¹.

Population health insights, garnered from screening data, also provide a foundation for employers to help guide planning and decisions about benefit design and wellness initiatives. That’s why Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness offers population-level reporting with data-driven insights to every client at the end of each biometric screening program. This aggregate data provides rich insights about an organization’s health status, while maintaining the confidentiality of personal employee information.

It is essential that employees understand their health risks and how to maintain or improve their health, especially during open enrollment season. Giving employees and their spouses/domestic partners the chance to know their numbers gives them the opportunity to take charge of their health, and promotes a culture of well-being in the workplace.

To learn more about the value of biometric screenings, along with engagement and health improvement solutions from Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness, visit

¹Diagnostics Blueprint for Wellness – Domino’s Case Study, 2012.

Special thanks to guest contributor Katie Birkenfeld, Marketing Specialist, Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness


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In the early afternoon of Jan. 4, 1987, an Amtrak train crashed into a locomotive 18 miles northeast of Baltimore, causing 16 deaths and dozens of injuries. In post-accident drug and alcohol testing, the engineer driving the train tested positive for marijuana, although no one noticed anything unusual about his behavior before the crash that […]

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SHRM in the Big Easy

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New Orleans has a rich history that spans back to the 1700s. The city’s pulse beats through marvelous jazz musicians, street performers, and some of the world’s most diverse and delicious food. No other city in the United States quite compares. This eclectic stage lent itself to a lively conference held by the Society for […]

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Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

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Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and […]

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Increases in illicit drugs, including cocaine, drive workforce drug positivity to highest rate in 12 years

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The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. This year’s report will be presented at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association […]

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