Safety Efforts Re: Recommendations Related to the Use of Certain Types of MedicationsNumber C-00-07 5/22/2000
400 Seventh St., S.W.
As you know, I have been a strong proponent of ensuring that operators of transit buses and trains are fit for duty. In fact, the Federal Transit Administrationís (FTA) Strategic Plan and our Safety Action Plan stress the importance of human factors such as fatigue, fitness for duty and workplace safety. As part of our commitment to safety, we at the FTA, in conjunction with the other U. S. Department of Transportation modal administrations, have agreed to implement the National Transportation Safety Boardís (NTSB) recent recommendations related to the use of certain types of medications.
The NTSB specifically recommended that the FTA institute programs to educate transit vehicle operators about the potential for certain medications (either prescription or over-the-counter) to adversely affect their ability to safely operate vehicles. The NTSB is concerned, as am I, that vehicle operators using medications might not be in a position to accurately judge the extent and effect of such impairment.
Therefore, I strongly encourage you to review your current policies with regard to operatorsí use of over-the-counter and prescription medications which could result in public safety being jeopardized. Further, I recommend that you institute educational programs within your system to educate your operators about the potential dangers of taking certain types of medications. This education could take place in conjunction with a fitness-for-duty program administered within your current safety programs, or it could be instituted as a separate safety activity.
The success of our safety efforts will require your support and commitment. In the interest of transit safety, I ask you to implement educational programs on the use of medications immediately.
Nuria I. Fernandez