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Drug Tests For AZ Taxi Drivers

A new state law is designed to help keep taxi drivers who are high on drugs from getting behind the wheel. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Current law requires that companies that hire drivers or lease out vehicles to them must first do a criminal background check. This new law adds the requirement of a pre-employment drug test. And drivers would need to be tested at random at least once a year.

Kevin Tyne, director of the state Department of Weights and Measures said the move was overdue. "We're award that nearly every other jurisdiction that regulates and oversees and licenses for-hire vehicles like taxis, liveries and limousines have some sort of a basic drug testing requirement," Tyne said. "And Arizona was notably absent in that regard."

But the measure, which takes effect later this year, is limited in its scope. there's nothing that forbids a firm from hiring or refusing to fire someone who tests positive, any more than the background check mandate bars hiring someone with a felony record. But, Tyne said he presumes that companies will do the right thing and the public will be protected. None of this is related to the accident Saturday near San Francisco where five women were killed in a limousine fire. The cause of that is still being investigated.