Why Split Specimen Urine Drug Testing?

This is a form of testing required by all Department Of Transportation testing sites. The Department of Transportation (or DOT) regulations for drug testing are also often used by employers to determine if their employees are drug free when conducting their work. This is because these regulations are fair both to the employer and the employee facing testing.

Split specimen urine drug testing is only slightly different from regular testing. In this process, the urine sample is split into two vials and sent to the SAMHSA certified lab for urine testing. One of these vials is tested now and the other is stored. If the first vial is tested as positive for any reason the person who submitted the sample can request that the other vial be tested. If this happens the 2nd vial is sent to a Medical Review Officer.

This MRO talks to the donor and asks them if there are any prescriptions they are taking that may have been omitted before when the sample was taken. If there isn’t any legal prescriptions that would affect the results, the 2nd vial can then be tested. The MRO will tell the donor about the option to have the 2nd vial tested at another lab. This requires the Department of Transportation to verify that no lab errors could have played a part in the positive test results.

Regulations don’t make it clear who has to pay for the 2nd test but it does state that the donor can ask for the test even if they don’t have the money to pay for it, meaning that the cost can fall back on the employer if the donor asks for that urine test. The result from this 2nd test is used as the final result in that case.

Requesting a 2nd Test

When an employee has a positive result on a urine test, they are notified about the option to use the 2nd vial for another urine test. If the employee asks for that vial to be tested it will then be tested at another certified lab. Below are some points to remember about the 2nd urine test request.

• When the MRO informs you about the split specimen drug testing , you will have 72 hours from the point of notification to request (verbally or in writing) that 2nd test.

• If you do not get that request to the MRO within the 72 hour span, you can still submit information to the affect that the request was delayed by injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances such as the lack of an MRO officer in the office that prevented the request from being made in time.

• The MRO can make the request for a 2nd test if the information submitted after the 72 hour period proves that the request would otherwise have been submitted in time.

• When the request is sent for the 2nd test the original urine testing site must be reached and told to send the 2nd vial on to another site for urine testing. The time and date of the employees request must also be noted at this point.


Lena Butler

My name is Lena Butler. I live in San Diego, California. I work as a customer service representative for TestCountry.com. I attended the University of San Diego and majored in marketing. I enjoy spending time at home, working on my painting and playing with my two pet rabbits, Carl and Lenny, when I am not here sharing interesting posts :)

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4 comments to Why Split Specimen Urine Drug Testing?

  • Joey

    SO if the doc gave me my dot med card at the office did my first vial pass?

  • Lacedric

    It is possable.. Im in office now and doing a dot as i type. U should have passed if they continue other wise u would not finish.

  • LaCedric Wilcott

    no they are two diffrent things.. even though u got the card.dosnt mean u passed. now the sample is test striped before u go to the doctor. if u failed u will still get dot card. test done sept.

  • Your DOT medical card is independent of a drug screen. Some employers are now requiring a rapid test be performed before you you are official hired. Once you clear then they will pay for your DOT physical and other testing. The rapid is allowed only because they are not technically hired and under a DOT position. The medical cert card is the possession of the “employee”, and is based on his/her health and prescribed medications that may affect his/her ability to perform sensitive duties. In the event a DOT exam and drug screen are performed on the same day the collector must advise the donor and follow the proper collection techniques.

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