Originally created 05/03/04

Waccamaw mass transit agency failed to test drivers properly



MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority failed to meet the federal government's minimum requirements for employee drug and alcohol testing in 2003.

The authority receives millions of dollars in federal grants that are tied in part to compliance with those requirements, according to documents obtained by The Sun News of Myrtle Beach.

The documents, obtained through a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act, also say the authority had a driver who tested positive for cocaine use after an on-duty accident last year.

The authority, which does business as Lymo, was the only mass transit agency among a dozen receiving federal grants in South Carolina that didn't meet the drug and alcohol testing requirements.

Failure to meet the requirements "may result in the suspension of federal tran sit funding," according to Federal Transit Administration regulations. There are similar requirements for the nation's airline, passenger rail and interstate trucking industries.

Stephen Anderson, interim executive director of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority, said Lymo drivers and supervisors participated in a state training program last month that included information about drug and alcohol testing, and the authority met federal testing requirements during the first quarter of 2004.

He also said the employee who tested positive for cocaine after a wreck last year was fired.

No one was injured in that wreck and damage was less than $1,000.