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Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing: FirstGroup plc. Application for Exemption

Notice of final disposition; denial of application for exemption.

FMCSA announces its decision to deny the FirstGroup plc. (FirstGroup) exemption request. FirstGroup sought an exemption on behalf of three of its subsidiaries, First Student, Inc., First Transit, Inc., and First Mile Square, which employ commercial driver's license (CDL) holders subject to drug and alcohol testing regulations. FirstGroup requested an exemption from the requirement that an employer must conduct a full query of FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) before employing a CDL holder to perform safety- sensitive functions. Under the requested exemption, in lieu of a full query, FirstGroup proposed conducting a limited pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse. If the limited query indicated that information about the driver exists in the Clearinghouse, FirstGroup proposed conducting a full query of the Clearinghouse, with the driver-applicant providing electronic consent in the Clearinghouse, as required. In addition, FirstGroup would conduct a second limited query within 30 to 35 days of the initial limited query and would conduct quarterly limited queries on all its CDL drivers during the first year of the exemption and semi-annual queries each year thereafter. FMCSA analyzed the exemption application and public comments, and determined that the application lacked evidence to show that the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. Therefore, FMCSA denies FirstGroup's request for an exemption.

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