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Amtrak workers fail drug, alcohol tests far above industry average

on 01/10/12 at 9:35 am

Booze News

Test failures run far above industry average.

A new report blasts Amtrak, the nation’s largest passenger rail carrier, for dangerously overlooking drug and alcohol use by its employees.

The report released Thursday, an internal audit by Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General, says drug and alcohol use by employees has steadily risen since 2006. The majority of employees who failed drug tests were reported to have tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, according to the report.

Amtrak’s employees failed drug and alcohol tests at a staggering 51% higher rate than the rail industry average, the report said. Amtrak officials estimate that they’ve spent $1.5 million to screen employees in 2012 alone, but employees have exceeded industry averages failing drug tests in each of the past five years.

Federal regulations requiring railroad companies to implement drug and alcohol testing were put in place after a deadly 1987 Amtrak collision with a freight train in Chase, Maryland. In that accident, investigators concluded that a Conrail freight train engineer was under the influence of marijuana and ran three signals before colliding with the passenger train, killing 16.