Department of Transportation Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Addressing Electronic Signatures, Storage, and Data

August 25, 2022

On August 5, 2022, The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), in Federal Register Vol. 87, No. 150.*  The subject of the ANPRM is the use of electronic forms and the electronic storage of forms and data required in the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing procedures rule, 49 CFR Part 40.  The ANPRM requests comments from the public, specifically DOT-regulated employers and their service agents who implement and administer drug and alcohol testing programs required by DOT agency (e.g. FAA, FRA, FMCSA, FTA, PHMSA) regulations.  Comments on this ANPRM must be received on or before October 4, 2022.

The proposed regulatory changes would apply to DOT-regulated employers and their contractors (‘‘service agents’’) who administer their DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing programs. 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.

Under the proposed rules, the following forms and records are being considering for electronic signature, storage, and data:

  • Drug and alcohol background checks (40.25—prior drug/alcohol violations)
  • MRO reports of verified drug test results
  • Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) reports
  • DOT Alcohol Testing  Form (ATF)

In doing this, DOT aims to reduce the paperwork burden associated with drug and alcohol testing without compromising the integrity and confidentiality requirements of the program and notes:

Just as use of the electronic CCF has improved the efficiency and accuracy of documenting the urine specimen collection process, we expect that allowing the use of electronic signatures, records, and record retention throughout the entirety of part 40 will be a significant improvement. We expect advances in workflow efficiency, cost savings, and a reduction in longstanding problems associated with drug and alcohol testing program documentation and recordkeeping, as noted above.

Read the full AMPRM here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-08-05/pdf/FR-2022-08-05.pdf

 

The foregoing commentary is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes.  First Advantage is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice.  The foregoing commentary is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of an attorney knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice.  First Advantage makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, currency or utility of the following information. Regulatory developments and impacts are continuing to evolve in this area.

 

*Please note that this advanced rulemaking appears to have been published in response to a federal law which required the DOT to amend 49 CFR Part 40 to authorize, to the extent practicable, the use of electronic signatures or digital signatures executed to electronic forms instead of traditional handwritten signatures executed on paper forms no later than  February 28, 2025, over two years from now. Therefore, please be aware that the use of electronic signatures for DOT Part 40 documents continues to not be permitted at this time. Additional rulemaking must be published over time before electronic signatures are permitted for DOT Part 40 documents.

Are You a Small Business?

Get started now with easy-order
background checks