August 17, 2010 4:00 PM, EDT

DOT Rule to Expand Drug Testing for Transport Workers

The U.S. Department of Transportation Monday issued a new final rule on drug testing for transportation workers that will add tests for more drugs.

The new rule, which takes effect Oct. 1, will cost an estimated $2.2 million annually and DOT said it could classify as many as 8,000 transportation additional workers as illegal drug users.

While it noted the vast majority of truckers do not engage in illegal drug use, DOT said in a statement that the new rule “should strengthen the deterrent effect of the DOT program because truckers will know that they may be more likely to be detected even if smaller amounts of some drugs are found.”

Substances to be tested include the designer drug ecstasy, and DOT also will lower the threshold for testing of methamphetamine-type drugs and cocaine, while adding a new marker to identify heroin use.