Wicker’s bill aims to ramp up drug tests for federal transportation employees

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on Dec. 4 proposed legislation to improve drug testing for federal transportation-related activities.

“Drug and alcohol use can impair drivers’ and transportation employees’ abilities to do their jobs safely,” said Sen. Wicker, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “My legislation would help protect the public from these risks.”

Sen. Wicker last week sponsored the Preventing Opioid and Drug Impairment in Transportation Act, S. 2979, which would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to make improvements in drug testing for employees in transportation positions, including certain train engineers and conductors, pipeline operators, and truck drivers.

Sen. Wicker said S. 2979 would require DOT “to strengthen drug and alcohol testing, research and programs for drivers and those in safety-sensitive jobs.”

If enacted, S. 2979 specifically 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, according to a summary of the bill provided by Sen. Wicker’s office.

Among numerous provisions, S. 2979 also would require DOT to determine whether to mandate that Amtrak locomotive engineers and conductors report arrests due to drug or alcohol offenses immediately or as soon as practicable.

The bill also would 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, according to the bill summary.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for consideration.