Place an Order Online

Ready to place an order online?

Order Urine Drug Test Order Hair Drug Test Order Alcohol Test Order Specialty Drug Test Join DOT Owner-Operator Random Consortium Join DOT Company Random Consortium Buy Drug-free Workplace Policy / Manual Buy DER / Supervisor Online Trainings
Federal Railroad Administration

FRA – Federal Railroad Administration Drug Testing

In 2011, seventeen Amtrak workers failed random drug tests. Maintenance workers killed by an Amtrak train near Philadelphia in 2016 were on drugs when the crash happened. Federal regulators say they've seen an uptick in drug use by rail workers in recent years.

The FRA deals with railroads in the United States. Railroads are required by law to monitor and control drug and alcohol use among their employees.  This was the result of a 1987 accident in Chase, Maryland which killed 16 people and injured 147.  In that accident it was the engineer of another, now-defunct railroad, that ran three lights and caused his train to collide with the Amtrak's train.  It was determined later that the he was under the influence of marijuana.

The 1987 crash was one of the factors that lead to Congress passing the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. This created required drug and alcohol testing programs for DOT regulated employers. Nearly 8 million people performing safety sensitive transportation jobs are covered by DOT drug and alcohol regulations. These include pilots, truck drivers, subway operators, ship captains, pipeline controllers, airline mechanics, locomotive engineers, bus drivers, and armed security, among others.

The general purpose of the FRA program is to prevent accidents and casualties in railroad operations that result from impairment of employees by alcohol and/or drugs.

US Drug Test Centers provides drug and alcohol testing services throughout the United States. Our test centers provide drug testing for all DOT agencies including: FMCSA, FTA, PHMSA, USCG, FAA and FRA.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) required drug and alcohol testing programs for railroad operations. FRA regulated employer must follow guidelines for drug and alcohol testing from DOT rule 49 CFR Part 40 and from FRA rule Part 219.

FRA Covered employee: A person who performs hours of service functions at a rate sufficient to be placed into the railroad’s random testing program. Categories of personnel who normally perform these functions are locomotive engineers, trainmen, conductors, switchmen, locomotive hostlers/helpers, utility employees, signalmen, operators, and train dispatchers.

Part 219

Railroad Drug Testing

Under Part 219, RA has designated its safety-sensitive employees to be those who perform service covered under the hours of service laws (covered service). This includes “contracted” hours of service employees and also individuals who may volunteer to perform hours of service duties for a railroad. These generally include train and engine service employees involved in the movement of trains or engines (e.g., conductors, brakemen, switchmen, engineers, locomotive hostlers/helpers), dispatching employees who issue mandatory directives (e.g., train dispatchers, control operators), and signal employees who inspect, repair or maintain signal systems.

Many regulated service contractors must also comply with Part 219. The FRA has designated its safety-sensitive employees to be those who perform service covered under the hours of service laws (covered service). This includes “contracted” hours of service employees and also individuals who may volunteer to perform hours of service duties for a railroad. These generally include train and engine service employees involved in the movement of trains or engines (e.g., conductors, brakemen, switchmen, engineers, locomotive hostlers/helpers), dispatching employees who issue mandatory directives (e.g., train dispatchers, control operators), and signal employees who inspect, repair or maintain signal systems.

FRA Post-Accident Testing

Post-Accident Testing

One of the most complicated part of the FRA drug and alcohol testing program is the required Post-Accident testing for drugs and alcohol. To help understand post-accident requirements, FRA requires Supervisor Training to not only include reasonable suspicion testing but also to include one-hour of training on how to determine if an accident qualifies for post-accident testing.

Definition of accident requiring testing: FRA’s post-accident testing rule requires urine and blood specimen collection from surviving employees and also tissue from deceased employees (these collection procedures go well beyond the normal Part 40 procedures). For surviving employees, these specimens are collected at an independent medical facility. FRA regulation, 49 CFR Part 219 Subpart C, stipulates the level of events requiring testing and who has to be tested. The collected specimens are analyzed only at FRA’s contract laboratory. Post-accident testing provides FRA with accident investigation and usage data.

Definition of accident requiring testing: FRA’s post-accident testing rule requires urine and blood specimen collection from surviving employees and also tissue from deceased employees (these collection procedures go well beyond the normal Part 40 procedures). For surviving employees, these specimens are collected at an independent medical facility. FRA regulation, 49 CFR Part 219 Subpart C, stipulates the level of events requiring testing and who has to be tested. The collected specimens are analyzed only at FRA’s contract laboratory. Post-accident testing provides FRA with accident investigation and usage data.

US Drug Test Centers can offer one or many required services for a railroad entity or contractor to comply with FRA drug and alcohol testing programs. These include:

  • Written Policy
  • Random Pool Maintenance
  • Random Pool Selections
  • Collection Services Drug
  • Collection Services Alcohol
  • HHS Laboratory
  • Medical Review Officer
  • Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Written Drug and Alcohol Compliance Plans must be submitted to the FRA for approval. US Drug Test Centers has had our plans submitted and approved so we are sure we can write a plan for you to be effective and quick approval.

Every DOT regulated entity must have a responsible person in charge. Title 49, CFR Part 40 requires employers to have a Designated Employer Representative (DER), defined in 40.3 as “An employee authorized by the employer to take immediate action(s) to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties, or cause employees to be removed from these covered duties, and to make required decisions in the testing and evaluation processes. The DER also receives test results and other communications for the employer, consistent with the requirements of Part 40. Who is your DER? US Drug Test Centers can help with DER training. Nationwide drug and alcohol testing is available from US Drug Test Centers. Call today for assistance from our compliance experts.