Captains pass the test

Mike SchoonveldWhen you get on a bus, airplane or travel busy highways loaded with commercial trucks, you expect the operators of these conveyances to be alert, sober and not under the influence of dangerous drugs. In the vast, vast majority of cases these commercial operators are not behaving foolishly.

Most of the pros drive safely because they are pros and recognize it’s the smart thing to do. A few behave because of government regulations. All commercial operators are tested for recent drug use as a part of the licensing procedure, thus weeding out many stoners before they can qualify.

All commercial drivers are also subject to random drug tests while they hold their license. An operator never knows when he or she will be called and the consequence for failing is harsh. As Donald Trump would say, “you’re fired.” Worse, their license is pulled.

One group of  “professionals” you may not think of immediately when it comes to government regs requiring random drug tests are the charter boat operators and crewmen that take people fishing on the Great Lakes. U.S. Coast Guard regulations mandate these people are members of a drug testing program.

There is good news for both the captains, crews as well as people who trust these professionals with for their safety on the water. After studying the statistics for the past several years, the USCG found very few captains or crewmen in violation. The good news for customers is knowing the captain you pick isn’t going to take you fishing under the influence.

For the charter operators, the news is better. Previously, the USCG required 50 percent of the captains and crew to be tested annually. Because of the low incidence of violations, that standard has been reduced to 25 percent. Instead of the hassle of dropping what you are doing and reporting to a drug testing facility on average of once every two years, it’s now only once in four years. Better than that is a monetary savings, since enrolling in a consortium is expensive and depending on the plan, each time a captain or crewman is called for a test the cost $50 to $100.

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