Thursday, April 27, 2017

Overview of Drug and Alcohol Rules - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Overview of Drug and Alcohol Rules - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: The United States Congress recognized the need for a drug and alcohol free transportation industry, and in 1991 passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, requiring DOT agencies to implement drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees. 49 CFR Part 40, or Part 40 as we call it, is a DOT-wide regulation that states how to conduct testing and how to return employees to safety-sensitive duties after they violate a DOT drug and alcohol regulation. Part 40 applies to all DOT-required testing, regardless of mode of transportation. For example, whether you are an airline employee covered by FAA rules or a trucking company driver covered by FMCSA rules, Part 40 procedures for collecting and testing specimens and reporting of test results apply to you. Each DOT Agency-specific regulation spells out who is subject to testing, when and in what situations for a particular transportation industry.

Hair Testing Exemptions Sought by Some Carriers

Some motor carriers are asking the FMCSA to grant them an exemption to perform hair testing instead of urine testing for pre-employment drug tests.  They see doing both hair and urine as redundant.  The long window of detection (3 months or more) makes hair testing effective for pre-employment and random drug testing, but because it takes 7-10 days for drug metabolites to appear in hair, it is not well suited for reasonable suspicion or cause and post accident.  Some other disadvantages include, certain drugs (most of the drugs tested for in the DOT 5 like cocaine, amphetamine, PCP, and opiates) are incorporated at a greater rate into darker hair and therefore more likely to lead to positive results in those individuals . Unfortunately, no standardized procedures and technical guidelines approved by the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) currently exists for hair as for urine.
As the article from Fleetowner below details, many differing and sometimes disparate views are seen regarding this in the FMCSA public comments, pro hair testing and against it, and for good reasons.  In my opinion, until the scientific community comes up with guidelines accepted by DHHS, it is unlikely any exemptions will be granted for using hair in lieu of urine in any circumstances.  However, companies can continue to add hair testing if they wish, as a non-regulated test.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) is establishing the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). This new database will contain information pertaining to violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) controlled substances (drug) and alcohol testing program for holders of CDLs. The Clearinghouse rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers, Medical Review Officers (MROs), Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs), consortia/third party administrators (C/TPAs), and other service agents to report to the Clearinghouse information related to violations of the drug and alcohol regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, parts 40 and 382 by current and prospective employees.