Direct Observation Collections / Mandatory for Return-to-Duty and Follow-Up Testing / Beginning August 31, 2009

On July 30, 2009, ODAPC published a Final Rule in the Federal Register which restores mandatory direct observation (DO) collections for all return-to-duty and follow-up testing. This DO drug testing rule is applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees who have already failed or refused to take a prior drug test.

The start date for mandatory DO for return-to-duty and follow-up testing is August 31, 2009. All employees who go for return-to-duty and follow-up tests on and after the effective date must have their collections observed. This includes employees currently in follow-up testing programs who will still be in those programs on and after August 31st

Some employers and labor organizations may have entered into collective bargaining agreements that prohibit or limit the use of DO collections in return-to-duty and follow-up testing situations. When this final rule goes into effect, conducting all follow-up and return-to-duty testing using DO collections will be a requirement of Federal law.

Safety is the highest priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and restoring our direct observation drug testing rules helps to support this mission.

You can link to the Final Rule on the Federal Register website at:

On August 31st, be sure to check-out the DOT website for updates to the following downloadable documents:

What Employers Need to Know About DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing

DOT’s Direct Observation Procedures Poster

Urine Specimen Collection Guidelines

Drug and Alcohol Testing Rule [49 CFR Part 40]

1. The authority citation for 49 CFR Part 40 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 40 U.S.C. 102, 301, 322, 5331, 20140, 31306, and 54101 et seq.

2. Section 40.67 is amended to by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:

§40.67 When and how is a directly observed collection conducted?

(b) As an employer, you must direct a collection under direct observation of an employee if the drug test is a return-to-duty test or a follow-up test.