The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has issued a proposal that will allow trucking companies to test employees for substance use by collecting an oral fluid sample instead of urine.

According to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) set to publish in the Federal Register in February 28, USDOT plans to amend transportation industry drug testing rules to allow for oral fluid testing in place of urine testing.

The new ruling would not forbid urine testing, but would allow employers to make the choice between the two sample collection methods.

USDOT points out that oral fluid collection could cut down on “cheating” as it is directly observed, while most urine collection goes unobserved due to employee privacy concerns.

“This will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program. The proposal includes other provisions to update the Department’s regulation, and to harmonize, as needed, with the new Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” officials said.

USDOT also notes that oral fluid testing could reduce costs for the transportation industry. The agency says that oral fluid testing costs about $10 to $20 less than urine testing. Officials also say that there could be significant savings of time and resources by eliminating “shy bladder” collection procedures.

USDOT is accepting public comment on the oral fluid testing proposal for 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. To submit your comment at that time, you can visit http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket No. DOT-OST-2021-0093.

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