CA PUC Drug Testing Program

A Comprehensive Look at the CA PUC California Public Utilities Commission Drug Testing Program

Need CA PUC Testing, Workplace Screening Intelligence provides all of the necessary documentation needed to be compliant with CA PUC Drug Testing Program.  Please contact our knowledgeable Support Staff at 844-573-8378 or to enroll in WSI’s CA PUC Testing Program.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CA PUC) is the state agency responsible for regulating the state’s public utilities, including passenger carriers or PSC and TCP operating authorities. One of the PUC’s essential regulatory mandates is to ensure that commercial passenger carriers are providing quality services to the public. This includes ensuring that their drivers and employees are safe and competent to perform their duties without endangering public safety. One way the PUC ensures this level of safety is through the PUC’s mandated drug and alcohol testing program for commercial passenger carriers.

Applicants for PSC or TCP operating authority must provide a mandatory controlled substance and alcohol testing program as adopted by the Commission pursuant to Public Utilities Code Sections 1032.1 and 5374(a)(2) and b)(1)(I). This mandate ensures that all commercial passenger carriers apply fair and consistent testing programs for controlled substances and alcohol that comply with the Commission’s requirements.

Administration of the client’s random testing program entails selecting testing pools of the carrier’s  staff. These programs occur to determine whether employees are using controlled substances or alcohol, which can affect their ability to carry out their jobs safely. The PUC requires that testing pools are random, which ensures that there is no discrimination of applicants and that everyone has an equal chance of being selected.

Moreover, administration of the client’s initial pre-employment testing provides additional protection for the public. The pre-employment testing is required before an applicant can be hired to work for a passenger carrier. This testing assesses whether the applicant uses controlled substances before performing their duties as a carrier’s driver or employee. A positive result requires disqualification from being hired to work for the passenger carrier.

To comply with the requirements of PUC’s California Public Utilities Commission drug testing program, public passenger carriers operating in California must adhere to certain guidelines. For example, they must offer educational materials to employees. Educational materials must cover topics such as drug and alcohol testing procedures, consequences of controlled substance or alcohol use, and assistance programs for employees who seek help for substance abuse. These materials provide employees with the necessary knowledge to understand why drug and alcohol testing is mandatory and the possible consequences of their actions.

In addition, a written company policy must be in place for all employers. The policy must describe the carrier’s commitment to ensuring a drug and alcohol-free workplace. The policy should contain a review of what type of behaviors are unacceptable in employees, the consequences of violating the company’s drug policy, and how frequently employees can expect to be tested for drugs.

Supervisor training is an essential component of the PUC’s drug and alcohol testing program. It ensures that supervisors who oversee employees at passenger carriers are knowledgeable about the employer’s drug and alcohol testing policy and procedures to promote compliance. Supervisors are educated on the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and how to handle a situation of reasonable suspicion when an employee may pose a safety risk.

Do I need a Medical Review Officer?

Yes the MRO is a vital and mandate part of the CAPUC Drug Testing
Program.  A Medical Review Officer (MRO)
is a crucial figure in the realm of workplace drug testing, serving as the
gatekeeper who ensures the integrity and accuracy of the drug screening
process. By definition, an MRO is a licensed physician responsible for receiving
and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer’s drug testing
program, and evaluating those results to determine if there are any legitimate
medical explanations for positive test outcomes. This role maintains a delicate
balance, striving to deliver impartiality and fairness for both the employee
and employer. An MRO ensures that individuals are not wrongfully accused of
drug use when there might be valid prescriptions or other medical reasons for a
positive test result, thereby safeguarding employees’ rights while still
upholding workplace safety standards.


The necessity of a
Medical Review Officer becomes apparent specifically in industries where safety
is paramount, and employees perform sensitive tasks where impairment could lead
to serious harm. In such safety-sensitive environments, the MRO’s involvement
is not just a procedural step but a mandated requirement, The MRO is trained to
scrutinize test results within the context of medical history and prescription
usage to certify that each positive result reflects genuine substance abuse
rather than any permissible medication. Far more than a formality, the MRO’s
professional judgment plays a critical role in upholding safety without
compromising the equals rights of employees within the workplace.

A Medical Review Officer (MRO) plays a pivotal role in maintaining workplace
safety, particularly when it comes to the administration and evaluation of drug
screening programs. Charged with the crucial task of ensuring that employees
can perform safety-sensitive functions, MROs analyze drug test results
critically. In cases where positive drug screens are flagged, it is the
responsibility of the MRO to ascertain whether the individual has a legitimate
and legal prescription for the substance detected. This involves a delicate
balance of protecting the individual’s privacy while also verifying their
capability to safely manage their duties under the influence of their
prescribed medication. When compatibility between medication use and
safety-sensitive work is in question, the MRO is tasked with the important duty
of communicating with employers through a safety-sensitive letter. This
correspondence advises on whether the employee can secure clearance to work
while under medication, thus safeguarding both the individual’s employment
rights and upholding workplace safety standards. When there is a concern that
safety will be an issue while the employee is using the legal prescription, the
physician will issue a safety sensitive letter. The employer then will direct
the employee to their prescribing physician to ascertain whether the employee
can perform the safety sensitive duties while taking the prescription. In most
cases the physician will either change the prescription or eliminate the
prescription as it was only meant as short term.


The California Public Utilities Commission drug testing program for commercial passenger carriers ensures that all passenger carriers provide safe and efficient services to the public. The program mandates the implementation of random testing pools, pre-employment testing, and the dissemination of educational materials. A written company policy and supervisor training in handling drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace are necessary components of the program. With this program in place, the PUC can protect public safety and prevent accidents caused by impaired driving or operating commercially before performing these duties under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol. 

Need CA PUC Testing, Workplace Screening Intelligence provides all of the necessary documentation needed to be compliant with CA PUC Drug Testing Program.  Please contact our knowledgeable Support Staff at 844-573-8378 or to enroll in WSI’s CA PUC Testing Program.