Wheels of Justice
New DOT urine collection rules
The U.S. DOT published a final rule in the federal register on June 25 that changes provisions of current drug and alcohol testing procedures that apply to collectors, laboratories, medical review officers and employers regarding adulterated, substituted, diluted and invalid urine specimen results. This final rule makes specimen validity testing mandatory within the regulated transportation industries and be-came effective on Aug. 25.
According to Jim L. Swart, acting director, Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, U.S. DOT, the observed collection procedures were changed be-cause there is ample evidence suggesting that more and more devices are available in the marketplace designed to tamper with specimens (for example, devices expressly de-signed to bring “clean” urine into collections so specimens would test negative). Many were designed to be undetected, even if specimens were observed using the old procedures.
There are three basic types of cheater devices. Of course, there could be others, but these are currently the basic three types:
1. One device has a long plastic tube connected to a bottle containing heated urine.
2. Another device consists of a plastic tube attached to a battery-heated plastic bag.
3. One device goes a step further by replacing the tube with realistic prosthetic genitalia designed to match the employee’s skin tone.
How will a directly observed DOT urine collection be conducted? Here are a few requirements outlined in the new final rule:
• As the collector, you must ensure that the observer is the same gender as the employee. You must never permit an opposite gender person to act as the observer.
• As the observer, you must request the employee to raise his or her shirt, blouse or dress/skirt, as appropriate, above the waist; and lower clothing and underpants to show you, by turning around, that they do not have a prosthetic device. After you have made the determination, you may permit the employee to return clothing to its proper position for observed urination.
• As the observer, you must watch the employee urinate into the collection container. Specifically, you are to watch the urine go from the employee’s body into the container.
• As the observer, but not the collector, you must not take the collection container from the employee, but you must observe the specimen as the employee takes it to the collector.
• As the employee, if you decline to allow a directly observed collection required under this section to occur, this is a refusal to test.
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., an organization that provides legal defense protection to commercial drivers. Jim is a lawyer who focuses on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking, and he holds his Commercial Drivers License.