Federal Transit Administration Announcement

November 9, 2018 - Federal Transit Administration

A special edition of FTA’s Drug and Alcohol Regulation Updates newsletter, including information about the upcoming random drug testing rate increase, is now available. The newsletter provides guidance for multi-modal employers on how to test at the higher rate, including how to calculate the number of required random drug test.

Links:

FTA Drug and Alcohol Regulation Updates October 2018 Special Edition
Drug & Alcohol Regulation Updates Newsletters
FTA Dear Colleague Letter: 2019 Random Drug Testing Rate Increase

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

October 22, 2018 - www.faa.gov

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign helps educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

Medications and Flight

Medicine, whether it’s prescribed or bought over-the-counter, is designed to solve a problem. However, used incorrectly, medicine may create real hazards for pilots. Some drugs can compromise your ability to control the aircraft. These meds can affect your ability to think clearly and make critical decisions quickly and accurately.

The FAA is concerned with a medication’s side effects in you as well as whether your underlying medical condition allows you to be fit for flight. Level with your doctor, and your Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), and tell him or her about your condition. He or she may be able to treat you in a way that will keep you safe, and in the cockpit.

Don’t Be “That Pilot”

A pilot may decide that he or she can control a medicine’s effects on the body, and decide to fly anyway. Since a medicine’s effects can be exaggerated at higher altitudes, that plan could be disastrous.

Another pilot may choose to withhold information, and not tell his or her AME, that he or he has a condition that could compromise safety. Not only could the undisclosed condition endanger the airman, but the treatment could also create problems through drugs that limit peak performance in the cockpit.

  • You must ensure you are fit for flight, and that means being alert, ready, and free from any limiting medications.
  • You must be honest with your AME and tell him or her about any medical conditions you may have, and any medications you are taking. In some cases, he or she can recommend alternative treatment options that could keep you in the air.

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Transit Industry Random Drug Testing Rate to Increase January 1, 2019

On October 17, 2018, the Federal Transit Administration issued a "Dear Colleague" letter announcing that effective January 1, 2019, the minimum rate of random drug testing will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent of covered employees for employers subject to FTA’s drug and alcohol regulation. This change is due to an increase in the industry's "positive rate" as reflected in random drug test data for calendar year 2017.  The alcohol testing rate is unchanged for 2019 and will remain at 10 percent.

The FTA will formally announce this increase in a forthcoming Federal Register notice, but has issued the "Dear Colleague" letter in advance to inform transit providers and partner associations of the 2019 drug testing increase and to facilitate early planning.

Links:

Dear Colleague Letter

FTA Drug and Alcohol Program

Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations (49 CFR Part 655)

DOT 5 Panel Notice

March 6, 2018 - https://www.transportation.gov

DOT Drug Testing: After January 1, 2018 – Still a 5-Panel

The DOT testing at HHS-certified laboratories is a 5-panel drug test regimen.  As of January 1, 2018, the ‘Opiates’ category was renamed ‘Opioids’:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

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Part 40 DOT Policies Notice

December 4, 2017 - https://www.transportation.gov

DOT Drug Testing: Employer DOT Policies – the Part 40 Changes

The DOT Agencies & United States Coast Guard (USCG) have provided guidance to DOT-regulated employers about what their DOT policies will need to contain about the changes to 49 CFR Part 40, which are effective January 1, 2018.

1. The Federal Transit Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and USCG take this position.

There is no need for employers to make any changes if their current DOT policies refer to adhering to “... Part 40.” However, there are exceptions when an employer’s DOT policy lists the following optional information:

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