An FAA Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is the first stage of a process that could impose drug and alcohol (D&A) testing requirements on aviation maintenance providers around the globe, and the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) intends for international stakeholders to have a voice in the matter. Congress mandated that any foreign D&A testing requirement be “consistent with the applicable laws” of the country where the repair station is located. The ANPRM therefore requests information regarding international drug and alcohol testing rules; the association has developed a government comment template and an industry comment template to facilitate the international maintenance community’s response to that request.
Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, told AIN, “The basic problem is the sovereignty issue. It is one thing to demand the work on a U.S. aircraft is done in a specific and certain manner; it is another thing entirely to invade the privacy of a citizen of another nation without a really good safety basis. There is no evidence that drugs or alcohol have had a direct negative impact on a technician’s ability to perform work properly. Some countries look at drug and alcohol testing as a direct violation of an individual’s rights; others execute drug users. Ultimately, the FAA had to respond to the congressional demand to issue a rulemaking on the matter; the advanced notice is one step in that process.”
Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA’s vice president of legislative affairs, added, “Driven by false safety and economic arguments, Congress forced the FAA into an unenviable situation–an unnecessary rulemaking with broad international implications. National sovereignty is a backbone concept; other countries cannot tell the United States how to control or govern its citizens, and we should do the same. ARSA looks forward to working with the agency and all interested parties to ensure countries’ laws are respected and maintenance companies aren’t overburdened by an ill-conceived congressional directive that provides no safety benefit.”