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FAA Releases New Drug and Alcohol Testing Rule

The FAA has issued a final rule “clarifying” its drug and alcohol testing policies. Despite strong industry opposition to the changes affected by the new rule, the FAA is now requiring that “each employee…who performs a safety-sensitive function…directly or by contract (including by subcontract at any tier)” for a Part 121 air carrier must be subject to drug and alcohol testing. [emphasis added]

Since the FAA issued the initial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking back in February 2002, ARSA has been at the forefront of the fight against this significant and ill-advised change to the drug and alcohol testing regulations. Largely in response to criticisms of the NPRM by ARSA and others, the FAA issued a supplemental NPRM in 2004. Again, ARSA issued comments criticizing the proposed changes to the regulations, this time in conjunction with 12 other industry members.

In the preamble to the final rule, the FAA acknowledged the unpopularity of the changes, noting that “25 commenters opposed the proposal, with many of them citing the comments filed by ARSA.” Unfortunately, the FAA chose largely to ignore the very real concerns of ARSA and other commenters, insisting that this final rule is nothing more than a clarification of the existing regulations.

ARSA successfully delayed implementation of this potentially damaging rule for several years, and will continue to fight for drug and alcohol testing regulations that make sense.

Click here to download a .pdf copy of the new rule.

Click here to read more about ARSA’s involvement on the issue of drug and alcohol testing.

Click here to see a list of documents on the subject, including past comments and ARSA’s position paper on testing.



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