Skip to main content

Transportation Workplace Drug Tests: Final Rule Includes Oral Fluid

June 1, 2022

NOTICE: Tomorrow, May 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Department, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are set to release Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs: Addition of Oral Fluid Specimen Testing for Drugs.

This final rule will amend the regulated industry drug testing program by adding oral fluid testing as a methodology for drug testing. This new option for drug testing will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program. However, for an employer to implement oral fluid testing under the Department’s regulation, at least two laboratories for oral fluid testing must be certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has not yet occurred.

The addition of oral fluid testing is a significant update to the current drug testing program. This new methodology is expected to increase the accuracy of drug testing, reduce the likelihood of cheating, and provide a more convenient and comfortable testing process for employees. Oral fluid testing can also detect drug use more quickly than urine testing, which can be particularly important for safety-sensitive positions.

To ensure consistency within the Department of Transportation, the final rule also amends the FAA, FMCSA, FRA and FTA regulations by removing or adjusting references to the word “urine” and/or add references to oral fluid, as well as removing or amending some definitions for conformity and to make other miscellaneous technical changes or corrections.

The Department’s regulation also includes provisions to harmonize, as needed, with the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This will ensure that the drug testing program aligns with current scientific and technical standards.

The addition of oral fluid testing to the regulated industry drug testing program is a positive step towards improving safety in the transportation industry. It provides employers with a choice of drug testing methodology that is less invasive, more accurate, and less susceptible to cheating. However, until the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services certifies at least two laboratories for oral fluid testing, employers will not be able to implement this new methodology. The Department of Transportation’s final rule is an important step towards improving the drug testing program and ensuring the safety of the transportation industry.


If you have any questions regarding this new rule, please reach out to