DOT Announces It Is Amending Its Drug-Testing Regulations


Importance Notice!

Effective January 1, 2018, The Department of Transportation is amending its drug-testing program regulation to add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to its drug-testing panel; add methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte; and remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte. The revision of the drug-testing panel harmonizes DOT regulations with the revised HHS Mandatory Guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal drug-testing programs for urine testing. This final rule clarifies certain existing drug-testing program provisions and definitions, makes technical amendments and removes the requirement for employers and Consortium/Third Party Administrators to submit blind specimens.


On November 10th 2017, The United States Department Of Transporation (DOT)  announced they will be amending the mandatory 5-panel drug screen to include expanded opiates, and expanding on CFR 49 Part 40.

Effective January 1st, 2018, the mandatory urine drug screening for all safety sensitive positions guided under CFR 49 Part 40 will include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone.

This new revision of HS Mandatory Guidelines with which the NPRM
proposed to harmonize Part 40, comes in two parts.

Part 1

Previous to this newly added regulation, the mandatory drug screening was a 5-panel urine which consisted of testing for the 5 most common street drugs.

A  5-Panel Urine Analysis consists of :

Amphetamines (Meth)
Phencyclidine (PCP)

As of January 1st, 2018, under the new revisions of CFR 49 Part 40, a DOT drug screening will test for four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).  Some common names for these semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®.

A 5-panel expanded opiates urine analysis consists of:

Amphetamines (Meth)
Phencyclidine (PCP)

What has caused this new DOT Part 40 Amendment?

Since President Donald Trumps declaration of the Opioid Crisis, America has become much more aware of the rapidly progressing problem of drug addiction.trump opioid crisisOn October 26th, 2017, President Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, striving to take action on this salient soar effecting the lives of American citizens today.

Opioid Addiction Statistics

A governmental account of drug overdose statistics shows that from the year 2015 to 2016 the death toll due to drug overdose rose 22 percent.

opioid statistics

This upwards trend of overdose has been on a steady incline since the year 2000 and was likely to continue until President Trump declared the opioid crisis.

opioid overdose

Knowing the disease of addiction himself through the actions of his brother, President Trump can understand the difficulties those who suffer from addiction face, making it known and urging Americans to remember the phrase “prevention not punishment”.

opioid overdose

Since the Opioid Crisis Americans have been made queenly aware of the consequences and statistics of drug abuse. How the opioid crisis has affected the American economy, the American workplace, and just America as a whole. Many now know that you don’t have to be an addict yourself to feel the effects of addiction.

Policy makers have quickly taken notice of these growing trends and decided to take swift action.

Saftey Sensitive Positions

A safety-sensitive position refers to a job in which the employee is responsible for his or her own or other people’s safety. It also refers to jobs that would be particularly dangerous if performed under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For this reason, Safety-sensitive positions are often the focus of drug and alcohol testing.

Generally, DOT regulations cover safety-sensitive transportation employers and employees. Each DOT agency (e.g. FRA, FMCSA, FTA, FAA, and PHMSA) and the USCG have specific drug and alcohol testing regulations that outline who is subject to their testing regulations.

DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance

The Director of the DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, Patrice Kelley, has been creating government substance abuse policies for many years. Under her jurisdiction, the new amendment to CFR 49 will help serve to uphold the ODAPC mission statement. ODAPC

“Ensure that the drug and alcohol testing policies and goals of the Secretary of Transportation are developed and carried out in a consistent, efficient, and effective manner within the transportation industries for the ultimate safety and protection of the traveling public. This is accomplished through program review, compliance evaluation, and the issuance of consistent guidance material for DOT Operating Administrations (OAs) and for their regulated industries.”

Part 2

HHS Mandatory Guidelines remove
methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) as a confirmatory test analyte from the existing drug-testing panel and add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte.

What does this mean?

An analyte is by definition a substance whose chemical constituents are being identified and measured. For example, morphine is the target analyte for codeine/morphine testing.  The DOT will now focus on the MDA analyte for its testing analysis, rather than the previous MDEA. This could lead to a test confirming positive due to the difference in the initial test analyte.

Initial test analyte Initial test cutoff concentration Confirmatory test analyte Confirmatory test cutoff concentration
Marijuana metabolites 50 ng/mL THCA 1 15 ng/mL.
Cocaine metabolites 150 ng/mL Benzoylecgonine 100 ng/mL.
Opiate metabolites
Codeine/Morphine 2 2000 ng/mL Codeine 2000 ng/mL.
Morphine 2000 ng/mL.
6-Acetylmorphine 10 ng/mL 6-Acetylmorphine 10 ng/mL.
Phencyclidine 25 ng/mL Phencyclidine 25 ng/mL.
Amphetamines 3
AMP/MAMP 4 500 ng/mL Amphetamine 250 ng/mL.
Methamphetamine 5 250 ng/mL.
MDMA 6 500 ng/mL MDMA 250 ng/mL.
MDA 7 250 ng/mL.
MDEA 8 250 ng/mL

Other recognizable CFR 49 Part 40 revisions 

Creating a name change from the word opiates to opioids now expands the drug testing panel to 6 commonly abused illicit and licit drugs  (Heroin); Codeine; Morphine, Hydrocodone; Hydromorphone; Oxymorphone; and Oxycodone.

  1. The DOT added a new section reiterating that, in the DOT testing program, only urine specimens can be collected and analyzed.
  2. The DOT added language further emphasizing the existing DOT prohibition on the use of DNA testing on DOT drug-testing specimens.
  3. The final rule made minor modifications to certain section headings.
  4. The final rule moved the list of Substance Abuse Professional certification organizations from the rule text to ODAPC’s website.
  5. The final rule moved the MIS instructions from Appendix H to ODAPC’s website.
  6. Outdated compliance dates were removed and links were updated.
  7. Appendices B, C, D, and H were updated.

The revision of the drug testing panel harmonizes DOT regulations with the revised HHS Mandatory Guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal drug-testing programs for urine testing.

For any questions regarding DOT Drug Testing or DOT compliance please visit us at or call (800)221-4291.

Employment Background Checks

What is in a Background Check?

What is in a Background Check?

The first thing to note about finding out what is in a background check is knowing that answer can be almost anything. It all depends on the KIND of background check your company chooses to run, if you are doing them for pre-employment purposes, or if you decide to run one on yourself you can choose what you want to find out. A standard background check package, also known as our Standard Level Package , will do a National Criminal Database Search (which draws searches from over 550 million records in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as a Social Security Verification, National Sex Offender Registry Search, and County of Residence Criminal Search (county to be searched in is needed). This package is the most common among employers and is very comprehensive. You can also add a drug test to your background check package here to get a full sense of who you are hiring.


Below you will find a full description of our most common background checks, and they do:

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are the most common search requested and provide an accurate account of a candidates criminal history. A criminal background check should be every employer’s starting point when seeking information on potential employees during the hiring process as to alleviate the risk of criminal activity, unnecessary costs and legal risks. However, not all criminal background checks are created equal. There are three types of criminal background checks which employers can choose from depending on how in depth an employer wants to go.

County Criminal Searches

Based on the candidate’s address history, the County Criminal Search is considered the most accurate and comprehensive criminal background search. At Accredited Background Checks, we utilize a team of researchers to access criminal records directly from the courthouses in the county(ies) you are requesting.  This check provides felony information and may contain misdemeanor or even minor law infraction information.

State Criminal Search

Administrative Office of the Court (AOC) Report or Law Enforcement Repository. Accesses the statewide criminal repository, if available, in a given state. Statewide Criminal Searches cover all counties in a specific state should you not know what county you specifically want to test in, this is especially useful if your candidate is moving from another city within the state of employment. Also certain industries require a State Criminal Search such as health care workers. Accredited Background Checks can inform you if your industry is required to do a state search upon creating an account here.

Federal Criminal Search

A Federal Criminal Search reports the records of crimes committed against Federal criminal laws. This information is not included on a county or or statewide record, (i.e. bank robbery, interstate theft, kidnapping, etc.). This report is especially relevant for screening management and executive candidates for white-collar crimes. This search is ideal for employees with access to secure or financial information, C-level executives, CPAs, and financial and banking staff.

Professional License/Certification Verification

Professional licensing searches research information on individuals who need state licenses or certifications to engage in a professional activity, including medical professionals, Department of Transportation (DOT) employees holding CDL licenses, attorneys, CPA’s and educators. (Licensed professions may vary by state.) Reports may include license/membership type and current status, license number, date issued, expiration date, disciplinary actions and restrictions.

Education Verification

If an employer wants to verify a candidates’ education claims, such as on a resume, the employer can request an Education Verification. An Education Verification is a direct verification of an applicant’s educational records including dates attended and degree, certificate or diploma received at the provided educational institution.

Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR)

If an employer has specific roles within their company that requires driving company vehicles or even personal vehicles as part of job duties, the employer may wish to request Motor Vehicle Report, specially for a driver under the Department of Transportation, this check is required. The MVR gives you the most up-to-date information on license status, class, moving violations, and restrictions. We access information directly through state Departments of Motor Vehicles.

National Sex Offender Registry

The national sex offender registry search is critical for professionals and volunteers who will interact with youth or work in childcare, education, healthcare and human services environments. The search includes sex offender registration records from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Please note that the types of crimes that require registration vary by state. Therefore, not all individuals convicted of a sex crime in one state may be included in another state’s registry. Know that your results will include what level, out of 3: low risk, moderate risk, and high risk, the offender leveled at should their name come up.

A More Thorough Employment Screening Process with Drug Testing

For added protection from liability or risk to your company, many employers will request a Drug Test in conjunction with a Background Check. Performing a drug test will ensure you are maintaining a drug free workplace and hire more qualified individuals. Employers have a variety of drug testing available that can be chosen depending on the specific duties a potential employee will be performing and/or how in depth an employer would like to test for. For example, DOT Safety Sensitive employees within the Department of Transportation are required to take 5-panel Urine Drug Tests as per CFR Part 40 regulations. 5-Panel urine drug tests screen for basic narcotics such as marijuana and cocaine. However, although the DOT regulation requires 5-Panel urine drug testing, an employer may require as part of their company drug free policy, that all employees must undergo more comprehensive drug testing such as expanded opiate testing including morphine or oxycodone.

Fortunately for employers, Accredited Background Checks, Inc. not only provides accurate and FCRA compliant employment background screenings, but we also provide a more thorough screening process by offering drug testing in conjunction with background checks.


At Accredited Background Checks, we aim to provide a complete background reporting solution for employers and companies of all sizes. Whether you’re a local trucking business in small-town U.S.A. or a major international corporation, our goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to make better hiring decisions and lessen potential risk to your organization.

Contact Us Online or give our experts a call at (800)-441-2728 to get started with an employment background reporting solution.