The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems, including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, trolleys and ferries. FTA also oversees safety measures and helps develop next-generation technology research. The DOT required drug and alcohol testing program is an important part of FTA oversight.
For drug and alcohol testing the FTA regulation is 49 CFR Part 655. Below are the summary highlights of this regulation.
Covered employee: A person who performs a revenue vehicle operation; revenue vehicle and equipment maintenance; revenue vehicle control or dispatch (optional); Commercial Drivers License non-revenue vehicle operation; or armed security duties.
Types of tests for drugs: Pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return- to-duty, and follow-up.
Types of tests for alcohol: Pre-employment (optional), random, reasonable suspicion, post- accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up.
Definition of accident requiring testing: Any accident involving a fatality requires testing. Testing following a non-fatal accident is discretionary: If the employer can show the employee’s performance could not have contributed to the accident, no test is needed. Non-fatal accidents that may require testing must have disabling damage to any vehicle or immediate medical attention away from the scene to meet the testing threshold.
Reasonable-suspicion determination: One trained supervisor or company official can make the decision based upon specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors of the employee.
Pre-duty alcohol use prohibitions: Four (4) hours prior to performance of duty.
Actions for BACs 0.02 – 0.039: If the employer chooses to return the employee to covered service within 8 hours, the BAC re-test must be below 0.02.
Employer must provide education with display and distribution of informational materials and a community service hot-line telephone number, if available.
One-hour of training on the effects and consequence of prohibited drug use on personal health, safety, and the work environment, and on the signs and symptoms that may indicate prohibited drug use. Distribution to each employee of the employer’s policy regarding the use of drugs and alcohol with signed receipt is mandatory.
One-hour of training is required on the specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, and performance indicators of probable drug use. One-hour of training is also required on the specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, and performance indicators of probable alcohol use.