NEW YORK, NEW YORK – According to a news story on nbcnewyork.com, a recent report drafted by the Office of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Inspector General is ordering the transit corporation to test workers for alcohol immediately after accidents. After an audit, the Inspector General initiated the policy change that most of the blood alcohol tests were administered too late, leading to inaccurate results.
The MTA Inspector General’s announcement stated that about 90% of MTA bus workers were tested for alcohol two hours or longer following their accident. Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny said that this likely let several MTA employees “off the hook from disciplinary actions.”
According to Inspect Pokorny, when too much time passes between an accident and testing employees for intoxication, this causes unnecessary roadblocks and places the public and fellow workers at risk.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires alcohol testing to be completed as soon as possible, but with two hours of an accident.
The news report states that the primary reason it takes so long for testing is the accident scene investigations’ length. Also, employees are required to travel from the accident to the NYC Transit medical center to be tested, which takes a lot of time.
The MTA accepted the recommendation. However, a spokesperson for the Metro Transit Agency stated that there would be significant resources needed to update procedures.
The New York City Transit and MTA are committed to a drug and alcohol-free workplace. Aaron Donovan, the MTA Deputy Communications Director, stated that there are tens of thousands of employees working for the public, and the company’s testing program is one of the largest in the country, and it meets or exceeds all federal regulations and guidelines.
Aaron Donovan, MTA Deputy Communications Director, stated that the company could test more effectively, and we are updating our policies and procedures in accordance with the recommendations of this report.
Due to fewer people using the transit system due to the coronavirus, the agency’s budget has been suffering. However, Inspector Pokorny states the problem of alcohol testing has been happening for over 20 years, and management with the MTA have failed to improve the situation.
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