Coast Guard Announces Reduced Drug Test Frequency
Supported by impressive results and after repeated requests by the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA), the U.S. Coast Guard has announced the reduction for the testing rate for Coast Guard-mandated random drug tests to 25% for 2013 for passenger vessel operators.
“Reducing the frequency of random drug testing from the rate of 50% to 25% for passenger vessel operators has been a goal of PVA this year,” said PVA President Paul Belforti. “PVA member operators have worked hard to achieve a drug-free culture and workplace and this reduction is recognition of that successful effort.”
Through PVA/Coast Guard Quality Partnership meetings and through targeted communications effort, PVA strongly advocated for the reduction of the random drug testing rate. The maritime industry has demonstrated a consistent reduction in positives since mandatory drug testing was implemented, and according to Coast Guard statistics, documented a positive testing rate of less than 1% for the years 2010 and 2011. Current regulation (section 16.230 of title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations) allows regulators to decrease the random testing rate if the positive testing rate falls below 1%. The reduction was granted because vessel operators achieved this goal. This change will result in a meaningful decrease in the costs for random drug tests for vessel operators.
“This action is a breath of fresh air at a time when regulatory burdens on small business are becoming unbearable,” said Belforti. “We welcome, and appreciate, receiving this recognition of our safety efforts with the anticipated reduction and PVA will continue to work for more regulatory relief in other areas as appropriate.”