Who issues rulings and interpretations on DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40?

By Work Place | Last updated: January 17, 2019

The Department of Transportation (DOT) rule 49 CFR part 40 describes the required procedures for conducting workplace drug testing and alcohol testing. It covers individuals in the federally regulated transportation industry. All DOT agencies must abide by this part when appointing individuals to safety-sensitive positions within the transportation sector.

The Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) and the DOT Office of General Counsel (OGC) issue rulings and interpretations on this part. DOT agencies may incorporate the interpretations from these organizations in written guidance that they issue concerning drug and alcohol testing matters.

The ODAPC is the principal advisor to the Secretary on drug testing and drug control issues. This covers employers in safety-sensitive sectors including trucking, aviation, railroads, mass transit, pipelines and more. The office publishes regulations and acts as an advisor on matters such as how to conduct drug and alcohol testing, and how to help employees return to work after a violation of drug or alcohol policies.

OGC is the acting chief legal officer for DOT. The counsel makes the final decisions on any matters related to the law and acts as the legal advisor to the Secretary. They are responsible for overseeing almost 500 lawyers throughout DOT. The team includes administrative professionals, lawyers and analysts.

As discussed, the ODAPC and OGC issue rulings and interpretations on DOT rule 49 CFR part 40. They both work closely as advisors to the secretary. The Office of the Secretary oversees the creation of national transportation policies. They are involved in international transportation agreements and US airline safety and regulations. They also create regulations to help prevent substance abuse in the transportation sector.

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