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December 06, 2012
NTSB asks Coast Guard to raise drug-test standards

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the U.S. Coast Guard increase its postaccident drug- and alcohol-testing standards to the level of those required of merchant mariners.

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Currently, the Coast Guard requires that merchant mariners be tested within specified time periods following a marine accident or serious incident. But Coast Guard military and civilian personnel involved in similar events are subject to lower, less stringent standards.

The NTSB cited five accident investigations between 2007 and 2011 in which the Coast Guard failed to adequately test its military and civilian personnel who were in safety-sensitive positions.

While there was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the accidents, the board considers postaccident testing important because individuals under the influence can contribute to an accident.

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