According to the Department's Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy (ODAPC), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its Mandate in BNSF Railway Company v. Department of Transportation (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Docket No. 08-1264) on July 1, 2009. Now that the court's decision is final, the stay has been lifted on direct observation drug testing rules applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees who have already failed or refused to take a prior drug test.

Soon, the Department of Transportation will issue a final rule in the Federal Register providing a start date for mandatory direct observation collections for all follow-up and return-to-duty tests. Until then, direct observation for these tests will remain an employer's option.

Safety is the highest priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and lifting the stay of our direct observation drug testing rules helps to support this mission.

Please keep in mind that the final rule is not in effect until ODAPC publishes it in the Federal Register and the effective date has occurred. We will send you the information about the publication of the final rule, including it's effective date, as soon as we have that information.

If you have any questions, please contact the Drug Abatement Division at (202) 267-8442 or drugabatement@faa.gov.