Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Last Updated: March 31, 2020

Definition - What does Federal Transit Administration (FTA) mean?

The Federal Transit Adminstration (FTA), in the context of alcohol and drug testing, is a government agency that regulates drug and alcohol testing programs aligned with public health and safety guidelines related to public transit systems including buses, commuter rail, subways, ferries and trolleys. The FTA collaborates with state legislatures and local municipalities in pooling together resources that aim to improve public transportation systems in line with Department of Transportation (DOT) statutes.

WorkplaceTesting explains Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Employers are obligated to comply with FTA-based rules for all alcohol and drug testing formats including pre-employment testing, post-accident testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, and return-to-duty testing, inherent to filling a safety-sensitive position per company standards. Furthermore, the DOT 49 CFR Part 40 mandate highlights explicit clauses for instituting and sustaining a drug-free workplace environment that often includes drafting a comprehensive health and safety policy, affording educational training for personnel, and keeping accurate records that are subject to regulatory amendment(s) by law. Employers can benefit in the enlistment of a third-party administrator (TPA) who helps establish a viable drug-free safety policy tailored around the drug collection process followed by laboratory analysis pending test findings by a Medical Review Officer (MRO).

Because FTA-covered employers involve safety-sensitive positions, regular drug and alcohol testing serves as a mainstay in deterring potential accidents and incidents that otherwise carry serious implications of liabilities for employers. A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is an individual who evaluates independent cases where discrepancies surrounding an employee’s recent negative test results or refusal to submit to drug testing protocol is in question. For example, the SAP will conduct follow-up testing and random testing measures to deter persistent episodes of drug abuse following rehabilitative education and treatment upon reinstatement to a safety-sensitive position.

Employers will administer the 5-panel drug screen via the provision of a urine specimen to identify the presence of drug metabolites that include amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP) per DOT regulations. All FTA-covered employers have a distinct responsibility in stressing an anti-drug and alcohol misuse policy, drawing a consensus from employees to recognize the consequences that can adversely influence their job performance.

This definition was written in the context of DOT Regulations
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