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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 2, 2016

5/8/2013 2:54:00 PM
Random drug testing for taxi, limo drivers

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- For the first time ever, drivers of taxi cabs and limousines in Arizona will soon be subject to random drug testing.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed legislation which will require those who own or lease out taxis and other vehicle for hire to screen applicants for drugs at the time they are hired or allowed to lease one of the vehicles. That is on top of an existing requirement for a criminal background check.

And drivers also will be subject to random tests at least once a year.

The measure takes effect later this year.

Kevin Tyne, director of the Department of Weights and Measures, stressed this is not some new government program with the state going out and stopping drivers. Instead, he said it's designed to make the owners of these vehicles more responsible.

But he said it is up to them to decide what to do with that information: Nothing in the new law prohibits a company from hiring or refusing to fire a driver who tests positive. That mirrors the existing laws on background checks, with no prohibition against hiring certain felons.

Tyne said, though, this is a big step for Arizona.

"Nearly every other jurisdiction that regulates and oversees and licenses 'for hire' vehicles like taxis and liveries and limousines have some sort of a basic drug testing requirement,' he said. "Arizona was noticeably absent in that regard.'

He said many people use taxis and limousines, both local residents and visitors.

"Patrons ought to have some basic sense that the driver has at least been drug tested,' Tyne said.

The legislation is unrelated to the mishap Saturday where five people riding in a limousine on the San Mateo Bridge south of San Francisco were killed in a fire. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation and there has been no indication at this point that the driver, who also was burned, was in any way responsible.

California officials said it appears the vehicle, which was licensed for eight passengers, had one more than the permitted number. There appears to be no similar laws in Arizona governing how many passengers can be in any particular vehicle.

According to the governor's office, there are 6,449 "for hire' vehicles in Arizona. But the number of drivers is closer to 13,000.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Ex-cab driver

Sorry ex-limo driver, I'm already thinking it's "an invasion of privacy to randomly drug test the drivers." Your bad example could easily have passed a test, been hired, and gone on a binge.

As for those pills truck drivers use to keep awake, consider that dextroamphetamine (Adderall) is a prescribed medication for millions of kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that teenagers diagnosed with ADHD are not denied a driver's license.

Wouldn't it be more effective to mandate signs in vehicles for hire that advise passengers to call police if their driver shows signs of impairment? And, please, publicize how many of those 13,000 drivers lose their licenses each year for drug infractions so we can evaluate our risk!

BTW, just so I don't inadvertently hire them, which "well-known limo service" hires falling-down druggies? What happened to those "many drivers" you knew? You did report them, right?

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Is this a case of monkeys see, monkeys do, or is there a drug testing lobby that helps fill corrupt lawmaker's campaign chests?

Taxi and for-hire drivers have the highest on-the-job murder rate of any occupation--much higher than that of a police officer. As far as public safety is concerned, it would make more sense to require a background check and drug testing to get a license to hire a cab.

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Somewhat Bemused

@ The gun-control advocates

If you look at the numbers, in 2010, Arizona had
762 traffic fatalities (11.9 per 100,000 population)
311 intentional & accidental gun-related homicides (4.9 per 100,000)
(source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
By your logic, background checks and random drug testing should be required for all Arizona vehicle owners.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Ex-Limo Driver

Before you start thinking that it is an invasion of privacy to randomly drug test the drivers, let me tell you that there were many drivers I knew that were using drugs, and I don't mean just smoking pot. Hint: It wasn't just coffee that keep them awake. I know about a gentleman who lives in town who used a well known limo service here, and on the way up from Phoenix he had to take over the wheel and drive himself home because the driver was so impaired on unprescribed painkillers along with meth. A few ladies taking this same service took a rest stop with the driver and they said he went into the men's room and came out a different person. When they noticed white powder on his nose, they refused to get into the car with him and called the local police. You guessed it. Cocaine. Do YOU want someone on drugs driving you from Phoenix to Sedona, or even just down the street? A black suit with a white shirt and tie do not make a sober driver. Go for it. Random test.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: So how many impaired taxi drivers have injured or killed a passenger in AZ?

And how many deaths/injuries have guns caused in AZ? Wake up America! Guns are not toys and need to be regulated like taxi drivers! A psychological exam to weed out sociopaths and mentally ill people should be done too.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: To drive for pay in AZ

Drug test?


Background check?


Data base?


All of this so patrons of commercial transport can, "..."have some basic sense that the driver has at least been drug tested."

Thank god our small, unobtrusive, under-regulating government is there to protect us from all those drug-crazed sociopath criminal drivers!

I would give the right lobe of NRA president's James Porter's brain to know the armed goon next to me in line at the grocery store met the same lame criteria to own a gun.

Sadly, all one must do to be a combat ready US mass murderer is to wake up.

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