Understanding the 6 Most Common Types of Drug and Alcohol Testing

by | Nov 16, 2017 | DOT and Non DOT, Occupational Health Management, Pre Employment Testing

Employee:  Hello, I’m here to have a drug test.

Clinic Staff:  Okay, what kind of test are you needing?

Employee:  I don’t know; my boss just told me to go and get tested.

Then your phone rings.  It’s the clinic explaining they have your employee at their facility for drug testing, but unsure of the specific type of test to perform.  The clinic quickly spouts out various names and acronyms, all of which sound similar, but you have drawn a blank and have no idea as to which test is correct.

Worry no more!  Let’s review the quick ins and outs of the 6 most common types of drug and alcohol testing, which you will utilize for employment drug and alcohol testing.

6 Most Common Types of Drug and Alcohol Testing:


  • “Pre” being the key term, applicants are required to pass drug testing as a condition of employment.

Random DOT

  • FMCSA (DOT) mandates testing for drugs at a rate of 50% annually and 10% for alcohol.  Meaning, out of  100 DOT drivers, 50 drug tests must be performed and out of the 50 selected, 10 will also have an alcohol test.
  • PHMSA mandates testing for drugs at a rate of 25% annually without alcohol testing required.
  • Employees selected for testing should be given 30 minutes plus travel time to reach the collection site.

Reasonable Suspicion

  • Designed to provide management with a tool for identifying alcohol or drug-affected employees who may pose a danger to themselves and/or others in their job performance.
  • Testing should be performed within 2 hours of identifying suspicious behavior, when possible, and the employee should be provided transportation to a medical facility where such appropriate testing may be conducted.


  • Utilized when an employee’s performance contributed to an “accident” or cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor of an accident.
  • Employees should be required to submit to an alcohol test within 2 hours, but no later than 8 hours of the accident.


  • Following a positive alcohol test (a result of 0.02 – 0.039), an employee must undergo and pass a return-to-duty test, before allowed to resume job responsibilities.
  • Should a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) determine further evaluation and/or treatment will be warranted, employees must comply with the recommended rehabilitation provisions in order to be considered eligible for return to duty.


  • Upon successful completion of rehabilitation, as determined by the SAP, the employee must pass drug/alcohol testing, before returning to work.  The employee may also be subjected to unannounced follow-up drug/alcohol testing, as directed by the SAP, for a duration of up to 60 months, following his/her return to duty.

Axiom Medical designs and implements complete Drug and Alcohol Testing programs for our clients that are either company-mandated or Department of Transportation (DOT)-mandated. Looking for a way to manage workplace employee testing and implement a drug and alcohol testing program? Axiom Medical can help!

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