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APS to increase bus driver drug testing at cost of $30,000

Atlanta Public Schools will increase the number of random drug tests administered to bus drivers to comply with a new federal requirement. AJC file photo (Alyssa Pointer/alyssa.pointer@ajc.com)
Atlanta Public Schools will increase the number of random drug tests administered to bus drivers to comply with a new federal requirement. AJC file photo (Alyssa Pointer/alyssa.pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Atlanta Public Schools will spend up to $30,000 more on drug testing because of a federal rule change that requires more bus drivers be screened.

The school board recently agreed to increase a one-year contract with a testing service from $95,000 to $125,000.

The additional money will pay for double as many APS bus drivers to be drug tested annually, allowing the district to comply with new federal requirements.

In late December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it would increase the minimum percentage of commercially licensed drivers who must be tested for controlled substances. The percentage of random tests that must be administered went from 25% of drivers to 50%.

The federal agency increased the minimum testing requirement because of an overall increase in positive test rates within the national motor carrier industry.

Officials estimate the increased testing requirement will cost an additional $50 to $70 million to the industry nationwide. An estimated 2.1 million random tests will be conducted nationwide this year under the new rules.