Court stops direct observation of drug tests, for now

By Jami Jones, senior editor | Friday, November 07, 2008

No one is going to be directly observing truckers – and other transportation workers – giving urine samples for drug testing, at least for now, thanks to an emergency stay granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The Department of Transportation recently enacted new regulations that mandated the “observed collection” of urine samples collected in return to duty tests, follow-up tests or when tampering with the sample was suspected. The regulation was to go into full effect Monday, Nov. 1.

BNSF Railway Co. and nine other groups sued the Department of Transportation over the new drug testing policy starting in early September. The cases were consolidated, and the groups filed a motion for emergency stay pending review to stop enforcement of the new regulations on Oct. 28. The court granted the motion Oct. 31.

The stay will prevent full implementation of the new regulations until the court has had the opportunity to look over the groups’ motion for a stay. At that point the emergency stay could be lifted or the court could decide to hold off the direct observation of drug tests until the case against the DOT is settled.

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