Fuel Smarts

FMCSA Proposes Changes to Drug, Alcohol Testing Rules

April 30, 2001

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed amendments to its controlled substances and alcohol testing regulations that will bring them in line with new DOT rules.

Some of the proposed changes:
  • DOT’s new Public Interest Exclusion system would be added to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. That program essentially blackballs service agents who are in serious noncompliance with drug and alcohol testing rules. The FMCSR changes would specifically prohibit carriers from using service providers on the PIE list.
  • New sections would encourage employers to develop programs and policies that let employees voluntarily admit to drug or alcohol problems without "DOT consequences." Such policies would shift more of the evaluation and treatment decisions to carriers, but could not be used to avoid testing or sidestep rules that require removal from safety-sensitive functions.
  • The term "designated management official" would be replaced with "designated employer representative" as the person authorized to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties and make other decisions regarding testing and evaluations.
  • Requirements for pre-employment alcohol testing, which was suspended by the courts and Congress, would be deleted. But FMCSA would add requirements for employers who choose to conduct pre-employment drug tests.
  • Employers would be required to maintain semi-annual lab statistical summaries of urinalysis instead of quarterly summaries.
  • Information about substituted or adulterated specimens would be included in reports and records along with positive tests and refusals to test.

Many of the proposed changes delete FMCSA sections in order to avoid duplication and possible inconsistency with DOT procedural rules contained in 49 CFR Part 40. These centralized rules cover recordkeeping, testing procedures, qualification of certain testing personnel, and other rules that are common to all transportation workers.
The proposal was published in the April 30 Federal Register, which can be accessed via the Internet at www.nara.gov/fedreg. Comments are due June 14, 2001.

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