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Oregon Wants To Close Drug-Testing Loopholes

April 29, 1999

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A bill in the Oregon House of Representatives would close loopholes in drug- and alcohol-testing regulations that let drivers avoid consequences by changing companies.

Currently, a loophole in the law makes it easy for drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol to simply switch jobs - and not tell their new employer about the positive drug test.
The measure currently under consideration by the House Transportation Committee would require that all positive drug and alcohol tests, and refusals to be tested, be reported to the state. Positive drug tests would be noted on a trucker's commercial driving record, and employers would be able to access the records when hiring new drivers.
The bill wouldn't keep companies from hiring drivers who have tested positive. Instead, they could opt for requiring treatment programs.
The bill also would increase penalties for companies failing to conduct drug and alcohol tests. In order to register trucks in the state, trucking companies would have to prove they have a testing program in place.
"Honest truckers who want to keep the roads safe shouldn't be damaged by a few getting a bad reputation," says Sen. Marylin Shannon, who is sponsoring the bill. The Oregon Trucking Assn. as well as state police are in favor of the legislation.
Last fall, California took steps to close the same loophole. A bill sponsored by the California Trucking Assn. established a 17-member task force, and gave it a year to come up with ways to close the loophole.

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