Government rulemakingThe Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced an extension of the comment period for proposed new alcohol and drug testing requirements for railroad maintenance workers.

The regulations, which were unveiled in July, would mean an expansion of drug and alcohol testing that is already in place for conductors, engineers and dispatchers.  

If the new requirements are adopted, track workers would be subject to random drug testing, including testing before employment, after accidents or if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use.

Track workers “directly affect the safety of railroad operations, because they work on or near railroad tracks, operate on-track or fouling equipment, and assist in directing trains through work areas,” according to the FRA.

The comment period is being extended to Nov. 25 at the request of the American Public Transportation Association, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Association of American Railroads and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association.