DOT Requests Comments on Electronic Signatures, Forms and Storage for Drug and Alcohol Testing Records

DOT Requests Comments on Electronic Signatures, Forms and Storage for Drug and Alcohol Testing Records

DOT continues to push electronic documentation and processes associated with drug and alcohol testing and is looking for public comments in new proposed rulemaking.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requests public comment on how its regulations for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing could be amended to allow electronic signatures on required documents, able to use electronic versions of forms, and electronically store forms and data.

The regulatory changes would apply to DOT-regulated employers and their contractors (consortium/TPAs) who administer their DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing programs, MROs, and SAPs and they anticipate significant cost savings for employers and their service agents.

Currently, employers and their service agents must use, sign and store paper documents exclusively, unless the employer is utilizing a laboratory’s electronic Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (electronic CCF) system that has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The public comments received in response to this advanced notice public rulemaking will assist DOT in the development of proposed regulatory amendments intended to provide additional flexibility and reduced costs for the industry while “maintaining the integrity and confidentiality requirements of the drug and alcohol testing regulations”.

Important dates for the notice of proposed rulemaking procedure

  • Comments on this notice must be received on or before October 4, 2022
  • HHS set deadline for a certified laboratory to request approval for fully electronic CCFs of August 31, 2023 (87 FR 20528)
  • Deadline for DOT’s regulatory amendments would therefore be February 28, 2025

What information does DOT hope to receive from public comments?

DOT recognizes that many smaller transportation employers may not be equipped to participate in a fully electronic system.

Therefore, they are seeking comments on the potential, advantages, risks, ramifications, and required safeguards associated with use of electronic forms, signatures, and records in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program.

Comments to the docket can be submitted using this link https://www.regulations.gov/docket/DOT-OST-2022-0027/document.

Specifically, they hope comments will answer these general questions:

  1. What are the practical impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
  2. What are the economic impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
  3. How would confidentiality and system security be maintained to prevent against data breach and data loss?
  4. How many levels of authentication should be utilized to ensure the reliability and security of the signatures of program participants?
  5. How is the non-repudiation 6 of a system ensured?
  6. Are there any lessons learned or shared best practices available related to paperless non-DOT regulated testing?
  7. Are there any limitations in either a paperless or electronic environment that impact program efficiency?
  8. Would moving to a paperless system involve the creation of more labels and bar codes and use of additional packaging, etc., not required in a paper-based system. If so, are there any cost and/or efficiency impacts as a result?
  9. What additional definitions would need to be added to part 40 to accommodate any electronic capabilities or a fully electronic system?
  10. What measures need to be established to ensure that, when documents are transmitted to multiple parties, each party is able to properly access and use the electronic system?
  11. How would the MFR be created and transmitted to MROs, laboratories, and employers electronically? (Part 40 requires urine collectors and breath alcohol technicians (BAT) to prepare a memorandum for the record (MFR) when certain problems are encountered during the conduct of a drug or alcohol test under part 40.)

For Employers and C/TPAs:

DOT seeks information regarding:

  • How the requirements in Part § 40.25, along with record keeping requirements, can be satisfied for employers who are not required to enter data into the FMCSA’s Clearinghouse.
  • How can DOT structure regulatory provisions to protect an employee’s personal information and related drug test information?
  • Should third parties (i.e., IT and security consultants, data management firms, etc.) play a role in maintaining electronic systems and transmitting data for employers? If so, to what degree?
  • If records are kept electronically, and the business relationship ends, how would employers ensure that they have access to their electronic records if switching recordkeeping services, or if the service agent maintaining their electronic records goes out of business?
  • Relatedly, how can employers ensure that records are not deleted, potentially leaving the DOT program participant without the records they are required to maintain under part 40?

For MROs:

DOT seeks information regarding:

  • How the requirements in §§ 40.163 and 40.167 can be satisfied if part 40 is amended to authorize the use of electronic forms, signatures, and record retention.
  • How MROs, C/TPAs, and employers currently ensure the security of the transmission and limit access to any transmission, storage, or retrieval systems when transmitting test results.
  • Part 40 requires communication between MROs and the employee’s physician regarding shy bladder situations, certain safety concerns, and opioids evaluations. Could these communications be handled electronically? If so, how?
  • Would additional requirements be needed in any amendments to part 40?
  • Would additional requirements be needed to ensure that separate systems are maintained? (DOT recognizes that many occupational medical practices, hospitals, and other medical groups conduct collections, perform MRO and C/TPA functions, along with their medical practices. However, the DOT drug and alcohol testing records of donors must not be combined with systems with patient medical records because only those persons with a need to know about the DOT drug and alcohol testing programs can have access to the records.)

For SAPs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0gphByHoP8

DOT seeks information regarding:

  • How the requirements in § 40.311 can be satisfied if part 40 is amended to authorize the use of electronic forms, signatures, and record retention.
  • How can the confidentiality of information be protected?
  • What provisions are needed to ensure that the SAP reports are transmitted only to the DER?

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Services

CNS Occupational Medicine also offers a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

For more information, contact us at 800.551.9816 or info@cnsoccmed.com

Questions about DOT Compliance, Licensing, Audits, Programs, etc.?

Our DOT Specialists are here to help!

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