ARSA RSS Feed ARSA LinkedIn
Contact Us Online Portal

Request for Clarification of FAA D&A Testing Rules

On April 1, 2010, ARSA again requested clarification of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) anti-drug and alcohol rules. This time, ARSA seeks to resolve uncertainty surrounding an employee’s permanent disqualification from service and the implications of a “shy bladder” refusal to test for individuals in a follow-up testing program.

In plain terms, an employee with two verified positive drug tests is permanently barred from performing safety-sensitive duties for any employer (14 CFR § 120.111(e)(1)); essentially, two strikes and you’re out. Before allowing a covered employee to return to safety-sensitive work after testing positive for drugs (first strike), an employer must comply with follow-up testing requirements (14 CFR § 120.109). If, during the follow-up tests, the employee cannot provide an adequate sample for testing—referred to as a “shy bladder”—it is considered a refusal to test if the circumstance is not the result of a medical condition (49 CFR §§ 40.193(d)(2) and 40.191(a)(5)).

Although the terms “refusal to submit to drug test” and “verified positive drug test result” are separately defined (14 CFR § 120.7), questions have arisen when the “refusal” occurs during the course of follow-up testing; that a refusal in this context is a second strike.

Compounding the issue, questions crop up as to the handling of the individual if such a refusal is not a second strike. If the person holds an FAA certificate under parts 61, 63 or 65, the drug and alcohol rules provide specific consequences for a refusal to test (14 CFR §§ 120.11, 120.13 and 120.15). However, for safety-sensitive employees not certificated by the FAA, an employer is instructed to direct the individual to the follow-up testing program; seemingly, such persons could repeatedly “refuse to test” and simply re-start the follow-up program after each occurrence.



More from ARSA

FAA “Committed” to Workforce Program but Needs Encouragement

On April 11, ARSA received the FAA’s response to the Feb. 5 coalition letter regarding funding for the new aviation workforce development grant programs created by Sec. 625 of last…Read More

Hotline Highlight – Going Big with a Mini Display of ARSA Pride

The hotline – ARSA’s premier member newsletter – contains news, editorial content, analysis and resources for the aviation maintenance community. All members should ensure they receive their edition the first week of…Read More

Quick Question: Ready for 2020 (Conference Planning)

In Washington, D.C., planning for 2020 is typically focused on the next presidential and congressional elections. Though ARSA’s legislative team is busy actually getting things done on Capitol Hill before…Read More

ARSA Gets More Time on New Maintenance “Profession” Guidance

On March 29, ARSA requested an extension of the April 4 comment deadline for draft Advisory Circular (AC) 65-30B, “Overview of the Aviation Maintenance Profession.” In response, the FAA provided…Read More

FAA Updates Industry on AVS Strategy and Brexit

On March 22, ARSA’s Managing Director & General Counsel Marshall Filler attended two FAA briefings of industry stakeholders hosted by the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association. The first, from Associate Administrator…Read More
ARSA