Cabbies To Appeal Drug-test Rule

May 23, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Annapolis taxi drivers and owners will challenge a new mandatory drug-testing policy passed by the City Council last week.

Jody Buccellato, attorney for the Annapolis City Taxicab Association, which was formed this month in response to the drug-testing proposal, said he will soon challenge the law's constitutionality and fairness in Circuit Court.

He said the court could rule on the appeal within a few months.

Buccellato said the law is unconstitutional because -- unlike the city's testing of firefighters and police officers -- the plan doesn'tspecify which test to take and makes drivers and owners bear the expense. He also said the city has shown no need to impose the tests.

The association voted to appeal the law, which would make Annapolis drivers and owners the first in the nation to be subject todrug testing.

Alderman Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6, and Transportation Director James Chase proposed the testing after a few people applying for taxicab licenses were found to have drug records.

Cab drivers will be able to decide when they will take the test. They also can have their private physicians administer it. The doctor would then certify that the driver was not abusing drugs.

Under earlier versions of thebill, tests would have been performed by the city, which also could require random tests.

The law takes affect July 1, after drivers and owners must renew licenses and permits, so the law won't affect cab drivers until mid-1992.

During last week's council meeting, CityAttorney Jonathan Hodgson said the law would withstand constitutional scrutiny, because it was less stringent than the city's drug-testing of firefighters and police officers.

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