ARSA RSS Feed ARSA LinkedIn
Contact Us Payment 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

ARSA Remembers – Stewart Mercer (1938-2018)

Stewart Mercer. Photo courtesy the Mercer Family. Stewart Mercer, passionate aviation professional, community leader and world traveler, passed away on Aug. 12. He was 80. “The industry lost another of…Read More

Urging Senate FAA Reauthorization Action

On Aug. 15, ARSA joined 32 other industry organizations in delivering a letter to Senate leadership urging quick FAA reauthorization action. The Senate FAA bill (S. 1405) is on the…Read More

Repair Station Security Resources

On Aug. 15, ARSA released a Repair Station Security Fact Sheet as a resource for the media, policymakers and the general public understand the rules applicable to FAA-certificated maintenance facilities.…Read More

Another Parts Documentation Extension

Effective Aug. 7, the FAA again explained a repair station’s authority to inspect and issue FAA Form 8130-3 with a right-side signature for new articles received without documentation required by…Read More

FAA, Industry Connect on Remote Connectivity

On Aug. 7, the FAA confirmed it would finalize and publish the industry-produced draft advisory circular providing “guidance for using remote connectivity technology and tools.” “The Aircraft Certification Service (AIR)…Read More
ARSA