Drug, alcohol testing set to expand for Muni 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is set to adopt more-rigorous federal guidelines for drug and alcohol testing of drivers, which include mandatory screening for Ecstasy and lower thresholds for cocaine and methamphetamines.

The stricter rules are updates to U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines set in the early 1990s that require drug and alcohol testing for employees working in “safety-sensitive” positions in mass transit, aviation, trucking, railroads and other transportation industries.

The new drug-testing rules, effective Oct. 1, officially label Ecstasy and other similar psychedelic substances “prohibited drugs.”

They also lower the cutoff levels that render positive test results for cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.

In other recent federal changes, an employee in a safety-sensitive job must have a minimum 1-in-4 chance of being tested for drugs each year and a 1-in-10 chance of being tested for alcohol.

Also, the definition of “refusal to test,” which is considered to be the same as a positive test, has been expanded. It now includes leaving the scene of an accident without just cause prior to submitting to a test, and refusing to raise or lower clothing when asked by a testing observer, who presumably wants to be sure no cheating is occurring.

On Tuesday, the SFMTA board of directors is set to vote on adopting the new rules.

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