Chemical Testing of Commercial Vessel Personnel: An Analysis of Archived Test Results
AuthorBrudzinski, Walter Jan
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ABSTRACTThe United States Coast Guard implemented chemical testing to discourage drug and alcohol use by commercial vessel personnel, reduce the potential for marine casualties related to drug and alcohol use, and enhance the safety of the maritime transportation industry. This study shows the extent chemical testing might achieve these U.S. Coast Guard goals through a secondary data analysis of samples from two archived databases from 2003-2011. The first database is the Management Information System containing drug testing results marine employers submit to the Coast Guard each year. The second consists of Serious Marine Incident reports containing Post-Accident drug and alcohol test results from two vessel categories - those with no crewmember chemical testing requirements except for Post-Accident drugs and alcohol and the other with comprehensive crewmember chemical testing requirements. Chemical testing includes Pre-Employment, Periodic, Random, Reasonable Cause, and Post-Accident. Alcohol testing is conducted Post-Accident only. This study compared the following: 1) Post-Accident drug and alcohol positivity rates between the two vessel categories; 2) Yearly ratios of Post-Accident drug and alcohol positive tests to serious marine incidents of each vessel category; and, 3) Random to Post-Accident drug test positivity rates from all commercial vessel personnel subject to chemical testing. Using percentages, tables, graphs, the correlation coefficient, linear regression, and the two proportion z-test, this study found that chemical testing appears to have discouraged drug and alcohol use by commercial vessel personnel, reduced the potential for marine casualties related to drug and alcohol use, and enhanced the safety of the maritime transportation industry.