DOT extends comment period on oral drug testing

March 21, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving the public more time to comment on its proposal to include oral fluid in its drug testing programs.

After receiving feedback from stakeholders suggesting that March 30 wasn’t enough time to prepare comments, the U.S. DOT elected to extend the deadline until April 29. The notice for the extension of the comment period is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, March 22.

“DOT stakeholders have expressed concern that this closing date does not provide sufficient time to coordinate with their respective members to develop comments to the notice of proposed rulemaking and/or to submit comments to the docket,” the notice stated.

Oral fluid drug testing proposal

On Feb. 28, the Department of Transportation published a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the industry’s drug testing procedures.

The proposal follows the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2019 rule that allowed federal executive branch agencies to use oral fluid specimens as part of the drug testing. Although the rule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, each agency is required to go through its own rulemaking process. The notice of proposed rulemaking marked the beginning of that process for the Department of Transportation.

“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 notice stated. “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.”

How to comment

Under the extension, the public will now have 60 days to respond to the proposal instead of 30.

The public can comment by going here, or by going to the regulations.gov website and entering docket No. DOT-OST-2021-0093.

To date, more than 160 comments have been filed to the docket. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.