On July 15, 2013, The FAA's Drug Abatement Division published a Final Rule entitled "Combined Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs". Check it out on their website here.
The Final Rule changes 14 CFR Part 120 to allow a Part 121 or Part 135 Air operator that also conducts commercial air tours (as defined in 14 CFR § 91.147) to operate a combined drug and alcohol testing program without requiring an exemption. It is important to understand that this is an optional provision. Instructions on how to notify the FAA are included in the preamble language and on the FAA's Industry Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Homepage.
Although the Final Rule is specifically related to the combined program exception, it also includes the following changes/corrections to Part 120:
- Clarifies that an operator obtaining an LOA from the local Flight Standards District Office is considered to have registered its drug and alcohol testing program;
- Corrects the omission of a reference reiterating that on-duty use of alcohol is grounds for permanent disqualification. This reference was inadvertently left out when Appendices I and J were combined into Part 120 in 2009;
- Reorganizes the rule text to clarify that employers are required to document both employee and supervisor training; and,
- Clarifies that the Agency does not approve drug and alcohol testing programs.
If you have any questions concerning the Final Rule or how it might affect you, please contact the FAA's Drug Abatement Division directly at (202) 267-8442 or DrugAbatement@FAA.gov