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Drug and Alcohol Testing

DOT Previous Employer Records Request - 40.25

Do I need to verify a DOT employee’s prior drug and alcohol testing history?

Yes! Before you hire or transfer someone into a safety-sensitive position, you must check the person’s DOT drug and alcohol testing history. This includes a look back at any DOT-regulated company that employed the person during the past two years. You must also ask the employee whether he or she has tested positive, or refused to test, on any pre-employment drug or alcohol test administered by a DOT regulated employer to which the employee applied for, but did not obtain, during the past two years.

If the employee admits that he or she had a positive test or a refusal to test, or if you obtain information that the employee has violated a DOT agency drug and alcohol regulation, you must not use the employee to perform safety-sensitive functions for you, until and unless the employee documents successful completion of the return-to-duty process. Please note, other regulations have additional certification, safety, or look back requirements. For example, FMCSA requires a three-year records check for drivers (391.23); FAA requires a five-year records check for pilots (PRIA); and FRA requires a five-year records check for locomotive engineers (240.119) and conductors (242.115).

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. A “wet signature” that authorizes the release of this information must be obtained from the employee. Digital or “typed” signatures should not be accepted.

  2. Blanket releases are not permitted. The release cannot have multiple employers on one release form; it must be employee-specific; it must be employer-specific; and it must be time-period specific.

  3. The consent cannot be part of another DOT requirement such as a motor vehicle check, credit history, or criminal background check. The consent needs to be an original signed form for each identified DOT regulated employer needing to provide testing information.

  4. If possible, obtain and review the testing history before the employee first performs safety-sensitive functions. If this is not feasible, you must obtain and review the information as soon as possible. However, you must not permit the employee to perform safety sensitive functions after 30 days from the date on which the employee first performed safety-sensitive functions unless you have obtained, or made and documented a good faith effort to obtain, the information from previous employers.

Can I use a service agent to help obtain or provide an employee’s prior drug and alcohol testing history?

Yes. You may use a service agent to help with this information. If you use a service agent to obtain the information on your behalf, the service agent must also be identified on the release form along with your employer identifying information. If you use a service agent to provide the information to a gaining employer, the service agent cannot withhold the information pending payment. Service agents maintaining testing information for DOT regulated employers cannot disclose employee test information to other parties unless the employee provides a specific written consent to do so or as noted in 49 CFR Part 40.331.

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