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New Rules Could Allow Electronic Signatures for Drug Testing

by Punjabi Trucking

Using electronic forms and signatures may soon be part of the process for drug and alcohol testing regulations. 

Recently published in the Federal Register, advance notice of proposed rulemaking from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) seeks input from interested parties about how current rules could be changed to allow electronic signatures on relevant documents to help make the process more flexible and to reduce costs. Comments will be taken until Oct. 4. 

“The regulatory changes would apply to DOT-regulated employers and their contractors who administer their DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing programs,” the notice said. 

“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 system that has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services,” continued the notice.

The notice includes several questions about changing the current process which has become antiquated in the age of advanced technology:

  • What are the practical impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
  • What are the economic impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
  • How would confidentiality and system security be maintained to prevent data breaches and data loss?
  • How many levels of authentication should be used to ensure the reliability and security of the signatures of program participants?
  • How is the nonrepudiation of a system ensured?
  • Are there any lessons learned or shared best practices available related to paperless non-DOT regulated testing?
  • Are there any limitations in either a paperless or electronic environment that impact program efficiency?
  • Would moving to a paperless system involve the creation of more labels and barcodes and the 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?
  • What additional definitions would need to be added to part 40 to accommodate any electronic capabilities or a fully electronic system?
  • What measures need to be established to ensure that, when documents are transmitted to multiple parties, each party can properly access and use the electronic system?

The notice is under Docket No. DOT-OST-2022-0027 and can be accessed at Regulations.gov.

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