Drug and Alcohol Compliance Program

Find information on drug and alcohol compliance requirements from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and to learn how to make your drug and alcohol program complaint.                           

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 created rules to combat prohibited drug use and alcohol misuse in the transportation industry. These rules are lined out in 49 CFR Part 655, “Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations.” These rules apply to recipients and subrecipients of grantees that receive Section 5311 and 5339 funds through WSDOT.

We routinely monitor the drug and alcohol policies, procedures, record keeping, and reporting for all grantees.

In addition, Public Transportation Division staff provide ongoing technical assistance and training through:

  • The Annual Management Information System reporting review.
  • Biennial program evaluations (consists of in-person and virtual site visits).
  • Program startup guidance.

Templates and resources

We provide blank templates and resources to help you maintain drug and alcohol compliance with Part 40 and 655.

Review FTA and U.S. DOT rules

Overview of 49 CFR Part 655

The Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations (Part 655) outlines the following eight subparts (A-H):

  • General requirements of FTA’s drug and alcohol testing programs.
  • Basic requirements of each employer’s alcohol and drug testing program.
  • Prohibited drug use.
  • Prohibited alcohol use.
  • Types of alcohol and drug tests to be conducted.
  • 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act procedural testing requirements.
  • Report and recordkeeping requirements.
  • How recipients certify compliance with the rule.

Overview of 49 CFR Part 40

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) rule, 49 CFR Part 40, describes required procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the federally regulated transportation industry.

Appendix H to Part 40 governs the U.S. DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Management Information System (DAMIS).

U.S. DOT resources

The U.S. DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance provides:

  • Resources for key persons (i.e., employers, employees, breath alcohol technicians, urine collectors, drug testing laboratories, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals).
  • Important links (i.e., annual random U.S. DOT testing rates, approved evidential alcohol testing devices, certified lab test, and Management Information System (MIS) reporting instructions).
  • Videos, posters, and brochures (i.e., collection site security and integrity, mock collections, employee handbook, and employer handbook).

FTA resources

The FTA Drug and Alcohol Program provides:

  • Tools and resources (i.e., best practices manual, prescription and over-the-counter toolkit, guidance from Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC), sample forms, etc.).
  • Legislation and regulations
  • Newsletters
  • Publications
  • Technical assistance
  • Training

Annual drug and alcohol testing reporting

All transit systems that use public transportation funds must report the results of their drug and alcohol testing in the Drug and Alcohol Management Information System (DAMIS). Transit systems and their third-party operators are provided a username and password each year in January to report the previous year’s results, regardless of whether testing occurred during the reporting year or not.

Transit systems are required to report the results of their drug and alcohol testing activities performed under FTA authority annually via an online reporting system by March 15 (FTA DAMIS Reporting website).

Service agent oversight

Anyone who performs U.S. DOT drug and alcohol testing services for transit systems and their covered employees must comply with 49 CFR Parts 655 and 40, as amended.

This includes the services of collection sites (e.g., local medical clinics, hospitals, chiropractic offices, mobile collection service providers), consortia and/or third-party administrators, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals. Additionally, laboratories that perform scientific testing on all U.S. DOT urine specimen collections must be certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A list of DHHS-certified laboratories can be found on the U.S. DOT’s ODAPC website. Effective January 1, 2018, all service agents providing U.S. DOT testing services must individually subscribe to ODAPC’s e-mail list serve.

How to ensure compliance 

Oral fluid testing 

All subrecipients of federal funding 5311 will be required to have oral fluid testing in place. Visit this site for the current updates on this FTA requirement (Addition of Oral Fluid Specimen Testing for Drugs).

Resources to find substance abuse professionals


  • Format information about your agency’s decision-making differently than the format of information U.S. DOT requires (49 CFR Part 655 and Part 40).
  • Tell employees what actions your agency will take if it receives a ‘negative dilute’ drug test result.
  • If your agency has a “zero-tolerance” or “one-strike” policy, include return-to-duty testing and follow-up testing information in your policy. You may include a statement indicating that this information will only be used if a court decision would require you to allow the employee to return to safety-sensitive work after a positive test result or test refusal.


  • Create a training agenda that includes the topic you are training and the amount of time spent on that topic. Each covered employee must receive ‘at least’ 60 minutes of training on the signs and symptoms of drug use.
  • Document the employee’s attendance at all training sessions when you include drug and alcohol-related topics. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drug information.
  • Train all appropriate staff on how to determine if there is reasonable suspicion for prohibited drug use or alcohol misuse.

General testing

  • Tell your collection site, preferably in writing, which agency is authorizing the test (e.g., FTA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, or non-U.S. DOT entity).
  • Verify that the correct U.S. DOT authorizing agency is indicated on the federal custody and control form or alcohol testing form.
  • Monitor the time that elapses between the employee’s notification to appear for testing and the time the test was conducted.
  • Monitor the custody and control form and alcohol testing form for collector errors.
  • When collector errors are discovered, attach affidavits to correct the error or place a note in the file indicating what corrective action the employer has taken.

Pre-employment testing

  • Ask applicants and transferees if they have ever tested positive on a pre-employment drug or alcohol test that was conducted by a U.S. DOT-regulated employer and were not hired.
  • Request previous U.S. DOT employer’s drug and alcohol testing history for all covered employees within 30 days of starting of safety-sensitive duty.
  • If an employee’s previous U.S. DOT employer does not respond to your first request for drug and alcohol testing history within 30 days of your employee’s first performance of safety-sensitive duties, document additional requests to obtain this information.

Random testing

  • Ensure all personnel that perform a safety-sensitive function are enrolled in a random testing pool that uses a scientifically valid method for selecting participants for drug and/or alcohol testing.
  • Random testing should be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year in a non-predictable pattern.
  • Random selections should occur on a quarterly basis at the least.
  • Random testing should occur all hours of the day and days of the week when safety-sensitive functions are performed.
  • Entering random testing data in the Drug and Alcohol Testing Workbook (Excel spreadsheet) will plot year, time, and weekday charts that can assist with scheduling future random testing.
  • Review the best practices for U.S. DOT random drug and alcohol testing.

Reasonable suspicion testing

Ensure that reasonable suspicion determinations are based on observable and contemporaneous signs and symptoms of drug use or alcohol misuse.

Post-accident testing

  • Use post-accident decision-making forms to determine if U.S. DOT post-accident drug and alcohol tests need to be performed.
  • If the accident does not involve a fatality, and the driver can be discounted as a contributing factor to the accident, do not conduct post-accident testing. Document this on the post-accident decision-making form.
  • Ensure the collection site is given the correct information regarding the correct post-accident testing authority (e.g., FTA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, or non-U.S. DOT entity).
  • Ensure the collection site uses non-U.S. DOT testing forms for tests conducted under the employer’s authority.

Return to duty testing (after a U.S. DOT testing violation)

Ensure that collectors are observing all return-to-duty specimen collections. This should be noted in the “remarks” section of the federal custody and control form.

Follow-up testing (after a U.S. DOT testing violation)

  • Ensure that follow-up testing is conducted in accordance with the substance abuse follow-up testing plan.
  • Ensure that at least six tests are conducted within the first year (rolling 12 months) of the employee’s return to performing a safety-sensitive duty after a positive test result or test refusal.
  • Ensure that any additional tests required by the follow-up plan are conducted according to substance abuse professional instructions.
  • Ensure that collectors are observing all follow-up specimen collections. This should be noted in the “remarks” section of the federal custody and control form.

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