WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, this week introduced S. 2979, the Preventing Opioid and Drug Impairment in Transportation Act. The bill would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make improvements in drug testing for employees in safety-sensitive transportation positions, such as Amtrak locomotive engineers and conductors, pipeline operators, and truck drivers. The legislation would also initiate important research to combat impaired driving on our nation’s roads.
“Drug and alcohol use can impair drivers’ and transportation employees’ abilities to do their jobs safely,” Wicker said. “My legislation would help protect the public from these risks by requiring the Department of Transportation to strengthen drug and alcohol testing, research, and programs for drivers and those in safety-sensitive jobs.”
The Preventing Opioid and Drug Impairment in Transportation Act would:
- Direct Amtrak to report to Congress on establishing an electronic record database for drug tests and implementing procedures to track and monitor such testing.
- Require DOT to make a determination as to whether to mandate that Amtrak locomotive engineers and conductors report arrests due to drug or alcohol offenses immediately or as soon as practicable.
- Require DOT to report to Congress on the ability of pipeline companies to require drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive personnel that are located outside of the United States but operate infrastructure within the US.
- Require DOT to amend its auditing program to be more efficient for certain drug and alcohol regulations related to testing contractors working in multiple states.
- Require DOT to report to Congress on the ways in which it can reduce and detect impaired driving, including marijuana- and opioid-impaired driving.
- Require DOT to study the viability of onsite oral fluid screening as a method to detect drug presence in drivers, set guidelines for law enforcement on the use of onsite oral fluid screening and drug recognition protocols, and undertake further impairment research.
- Direct the Government Accountability Office to review interactions between the Department of Health and Human Services and DOT in adding and removing categories of drugs from the testing panel.
- Require additional reports to Congress on the status of the guidelines for hair testing and the determination of whether to add fentanyl to the drug panel.
To see the full text of the bill, click here.