Feds to test railroad workers for drugs, alcohol

Railroad workers are facing new drug and alcohol testing requirements.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) already tests certain safety-sensitive employees like train conductors for drugs and alcohol, but it said Monday it will expand those requirements to railroad maintenance workers.


Currently, railroad maintenance workers are only tested for drugs and alcohol after they are killed in a train-related accident, but they are not tested on a routine basis, the agency said.

Under the new rules, they will face pre-employment testing, random testing and reasonable suspicion testing.

The FRA estimates these drug and alcohol testing requirements will cost industry more than $24 million to comply with over the next two decades but simultaneously save railroads more than $115 million.

The rule goes into effect in one year.