Earlier this year, the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) requested public comment on a proposed rule that would allow the use of electronic forms and signatures for drug and alcohol testing.
In its advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) published in the Aug. 5 Federal Register, the DOT stated that its aim is to “provide additional flexibility and reduced costs for the industry while maintaining the integrity and confidentiality requirements of the drug and alcohol testing regulations.”
“Employers and their service agents must use, sign and store paper documents exclusively, unless the employer is utilizing a laboratory’s electronic Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (electronic CCF) system that has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.” – from the DOT notice.
Comments are due Oct. 4, while DOT asks responders to answer 14 specific questions, including the following:
- What are the practical impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
- What are the economic impacts of authorizing a fully or partially electronic system?
- How would confidentiality and system security be maintained to prevent against data breach and data loss?
- How many levels of authentication should be used to ensure the reliability and security of the signatures of program participants?
- Are there any lessons learned or shared best practices available related to paperless non-DOT regulated testing?
- Are there any limitations in either a paperless or electronic environment that impact program efficiency?
- What measures need to be established to ensure, when documents are transmitted to multiple parties, each party is able to properly access and use the electronic system?
According to the Federal Register website, the DOT is required by statute to amend its regulations “to authorize, to the extent practicable, the use of electronic signatures or digital signatures executed to electronic forms instead of traditional handwritten signatures executed on paper forms.” In addition, the website states that this rulemaking is a response to a petition created in April 2020 for rulemaking from DISA Global Solutions, Inc. (DISA), requesting that part 40 be amended to allow the use of an electronic version of the alcohol testing form (ATF) for DOT-authorized alcohol testing. Finally, the information received will be used by DOT in the development of proposed regulatory amendments.