School bus drivers seeking to return to work following COVID-19 furloughs of at least 30 consecutive days are exempted from pre-employment alcohol and drug screening through Sept. 30, as long as they’ve remained in random drug-testing pools.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Friday that it extended the waiver for these drivers from 30 to 90 days, in response to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on March 19 to provide exemptions from regulations “that may inhibit economic recovery.”
FMCSA noted in its grant of waiver that the temporary extension would relieve employers of administrative and regulatory costs. It also addresses a backlog of drivers who would be attempting to take drug and alcohol tests before they could return to work, despite many testing centers remaining closed.
FMCSA also said the waiver does not negatively impact safety. The waiver, FMCSA pointed out, does not alter any other testing requirements for controlled substances and alcohol use or safety. Motor carrier employers must also continue to have real-time access to driver-specific drug and alcohol violation information through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which went into effect in January.
To be eligible, FMCSA said that a school bus driver must have participated in a controlled substance testing program within the past 30 days. While in that program, the driver had to have been tested for controlled substances within the past six months (from the date of application with the employer), or they participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months (from the date of application with the employer).
Additionally, the employer must verify the driver participated in controlled substance testing and there are no recorded controlled substance violations occurring within the past six months.
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