The US Department of Transportation will consider allowing the use of electronic forms and signatures as part of its drug and alcohol testing regulations.
The US DOT has issued a prior notification of proposed regulation in the Federal Register on Friday, August 5. Comments on the notice will be accepted until October 4.
Specifically, the US DOT is seeking feedback on how the regulations could be changed to allow electronic signatures on documents required under the regulations. In addition, changes will also be considered regarding the authorization of electronic forms.
“The regulatory changes would apply to DOT-regulated employers and their contractors who administer their DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing programs,” the notice states. “Currently, employers and their service agents must use, sign, and store paper documents exclusively, unless the employer is using an electronic Federal Custody and Drug Testing Control Form system. laboratory that has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.”
The US DOT’s goal is to provide additional flexibility and reduced costs for industry “while maintaining the integrity and confidentiality requirements of drug and alcohol testing regulations.”
The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the benefits, risks, ramifications and necessary safeguards associated with the use of electronic forms, signatures and records in the drug testing program.
The United States DOT included several questions in the notice.
- 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 system privacy and security be maintained to prevent data breach and loss?
- How many levels of authentication should be used to ensure the reliability and security of program participants’ signatures?
- How is the non-repudiation of a system ensured?
- Are there any lessons learned or best practices shared regarding non-DOT regulated paperless testing?
- Are there any limitations in a paperless or electronic environment that impact program effectiveness?
- Would moving to a paperless system mean creating more labels and barcodes and using additional packaging etc. not required in a paper-based system? If so, are there any resulting cost and/or efficiency impacts?
- What additional definitions would need to be added to Part 40 to account for electronic capabilities or a fully electronic system?
- What measures need to be in place to ensure that when documents are transmitted to multiple parties, each party is able to access and use the electronic system correctly?