On May 22, the US Senate Committee on Commerce and Transportation unanimously approved Chairman Thune’s “Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act,” which would improve DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program in the midst of the nationwide opioid epidemic (42,000 opioid overdose in 2016 alone). I attached the reported version but the website should have it up soon.
NTSB Chairman Sumwalt noted that the bill includes provisions, which, “if enacted, have great potential to save lives and avoid injuries.”
Here is a brief summary of the bill –
· Expand mandatory random drug testing requirements to both rail mechanical employees and yardmasters. Currently, transit and aviation mechanical employees are subject to mandatory drug testing requirements, so this change would increase uniformity across modes.
· Require that SAMHSA and DOT add fentanyl to the drug-testing panel, subject to findings on availability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of testing.
· Impose a deadline for SAMHSA to issue mandatory guidelines on oral fluid testing. The agency issued a notice to add oral fluid testing to mandatory testing guidelines in 2015, but it has since taken no action.
· Require status reports on the hair testing guidelines and implementation of the CDL drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
· Require DOT to create a publicly available database of drug and alcohol testing data reported by employers, and for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the collection, use, and availability of data on drug and alcohol testing and make recommendations to further the utilization of such data.
· Facilitate the use of electronic record keeping and forms, reducing burden on the regulated public.