A new report says that Amtrak employees are failing drug and alcohol tests at a shocking and dangerous rate. The report, an internal audit by Amtrak’s own inspector general, says employee drug and alcohol use has been rising since 2006, and employees now fail drug and alcohol tests at a rate that is 51 percent higher than the rail industry average. Employees have failed drug tests at a rate higher than the industry average for the last five years, and a majority of the employees who failed drug tests tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.
In what CNN calls “blistering criticism,” the inspector general said the reactions of Amtrak’s senior management “raise serious questions about Amtrak’s commitment to controlling drug and alcohol use.” Federal law requires officials to physically observe each employee for signs of drug and alcohol use and randomly perform drug and alcohol testing on employees in safety-sensitive positions. Amtrak has 4,400 employees in safety-sensitive positions like locomotive engineers, conductors, train dispatchers, signal maintenance employees and mechanics.