Department of Transportation (DOT)

Last updated: March 31, 2020

What Does Department of Transportation (DOT) Mean?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a division of the United States federal government that is tasked with overseeing national transportation programs. This agency consists of several subdivisions that oversee various segments of the nation's transportation system ranging from water and roadways to air traffic.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Department of Transportation (DOT)

First established in 1966, the federal Department of Transportation administers the United State's transportation systems and services. As a part of this oversight, the DOT is responsible for ensuring the safety of travelers and transportation employees.

The Department of Transportation is headed by the Secretary of Transportation. There are several departments within the Department of Transportation, each overseeing different transportation industries. Some of the most well-known agencies within the DOT are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Lesser know agencies that are also included under the DOT umbrella are the Maritime Administration and the Surface Transportation Board.

As a part of its ongoing duties to ensure safe transportation, the DOT has crafted guidelines for training, qualification, and ongoing monitoring of employees who hold safety sensitive positions in the transportation industry. Monitoring for drug and alcohol use by safety sensitive employees is required by DOT regulations. An employer may impose rules or requirements on an employee that are above and beyond those required by state or other federal laws when the job is covered by DOT regulations.


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