Proposal Would Allow for Hair Testing of Truckers for Illegal Drugs

October 31, 2013

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Legislation has been introduced on Capitol Hill allowing trucking companies the option of using hair testing for illegal drugs as an approved method of screening drivers.

Companion bills introduced Wednesday in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to recognize hair testing as an optional method to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation drug testing requirements for commercial truck drivers.

Under current federal regulations, only urinalysis is recognized by the HHS for mandatory pre-employment drug and alcohol exams of truck driver applicants.

Supporters of this legislation say the number of truck driver applicants who pass a pre-employment urine test, but fail a subsequent hair test, is alarmingly high. They say this is the reason some trucking companies have turned to hair testing, which is more expensive, but allegedly more effective in identifying drug users who apply for jobs as truck drivers.

The House bill, HR3403, was introduced by Rick Crawford, R-Ark. and is cosponsored by Tom Cotton, R- Ark., Steve Womack, R-Ark., Tim Griffin, R-Ark. and Reid Ribble, R-‐Wisc.. The Senate measure, S1625, was introduced by Mark Pryor, D-Ark and is cosponsored by John Boozman, R-Ark.

“We applaud this bipartisan effort of our Arkansas congressional delegation and Congressman Reid Ribble from Wisconsin for introducing legislation that will help keep drug users out of our freight trucks and off our nation’s highways,” said Lane Kidd, senior manager of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (known as The Trucking Alliance) and president of the Arkansas Trucking Association.

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security/The Trucking Alliance is made up of several of the nation’s largest trucking companies including: J.B. Hunt Transport, Knight Transportation, Maverick Transportation and Schneider National, among others, which also supports speed limiters and electronic on-board recorders on trucks.

“Passing this much-needed legislation will give trucking companies the option of conducting either a urinalysis or a hair test or both methods and will also allow positive hair tests to be reported to the soon-to-be-created national drug and alcohol clearinghouse that Congress adopted last year," says Gary Salisbury, a member of the Trucking Alliance board of directors and the current chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association.

Congress mandated the creation of a drug and alcohol clearinghouse last year and the Department of Transportation is expected to have the clearinghouse operational by next year. This database will identify any person who has previously tested positive on a pre-employment drug exam required by the federal government before being employed as a truck driver. However, unless HHS recognizes hair testing as an approved methodology, no positive hair test results can be submitted to the national clearinghouse database. The legislation introduced will enable those drug test results to be reported to the clearinghouse.

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  1. 1. Cliff Downing [ November 01, 2013 @ 07:05AM ]

    All this does is show past use, that may have been legal, not use within the last 48 hrs, which actually is critical. In other words, carriers want to be abitors of morality as opposed to really a major safety measure. If the applicant was not in a driving position, say, 3 months ago, was in an area where recreational use is legal and participated, now is testing positive via hair test, I see lawyers warming up already.

  2. 2. Justin [ November 01, 2013 @ 07:27AM ]

    I see this as more easy money for lawyers as well. The article makes no mention of the supposed accuracy of the hair test or what time period this type of testing covers. Sounds like another half-baked idea that possibly started with a good purpose, but will eventually become another overbearing requirement for both drivers as well as carriers.

  3. 3. FRED [ November 01, 2013 @ 02:42PM ]

    I say test away. There is no place for drug use driving a commercial truck or flying a airplane. I have nothing to hide, unlike some drivers. I see them drink alcohol and try to get grass and other drugs in the truck stops.

  4. 4. Trailrunner [ November 06, 2013 @ 03:14AM ]

    I agree with Cliff. It is an infringement of our constitutional rights. If it is as legal as alcohol where I am in the USA, and I am not operating a commercial vehicle, but complying to the laws governed for other privileges' then why should I be scrutinized for failed testing. If you fail a test for pre employment under these conditions then the company has the right not to hire you, but you should have the right to be able to wait and take another test for another employer and not be black listed as a failed test. Of course if you fail a random test while employed as a commercial driver then the test results should be sent to the registry.

  5. 5. Trailrunner [ November 06, 2013 @ 11:23AM ]

    Fred, they do not plan to include airline pilots. I say test away also and pay me more money for the increased job requirements.. However, if I am unemployed for a extended time and in an area where pot is legal, I may partake. I do not drink alcohol, can't stand it. Of course I do not at this time see any legal standards for operating a non commercial vehicle after pot use so I would assume the same laws apply to that as the new CDL laws. After all why should I be subjected to being maimed on the highway by a stoned out soccer mom.

  6. 6. Trailrunner [ November 06, 2013 @ 02:15PM ]

    I have a vision. Once the USA begins to accept hair testing as a standard for all types of employment, and random employer drug testing, the stage will be set for a perfect society. If all employment is conditional upon successfully passing a drug test then anyone that will want, need to work will not do drugs. Hence, a time of new prohibition. No, drugs, alcohol, smoking of any kind except that which is prescribed by a physician. Within the next 20 years the human race will once again make a frail attempt at a perfect, Arian society. An attempt to become the demi God that we believe we all are. A chance to once again frolic in the Garden of Eden in time before the apple of temptation sealed our fate.
    Here I thought that the good old USA was about acceptance of many cultures and ethnic peoples. The land of immigrants as she has been referred to, a society of free will and opportunity. Somehow I don't think that vision for the last 238 years will survive the age of technology and the thinking that comes with it. Is this God's will, the will of the Universe, or has Satin entered the hen house? Is this perfect society, race, life achievable, or will a simple hair destroy us all.

  7. 7. [email protected] [ November 07, 2013 @ 10:44AM ]

    In conclusion;
    1) This bill takes away the civil liberties of the driver to partake in a otherwise legal activity to others when not employed or engaging in commercial driver activities.
    2) As of now, I do not believe that marijuana use is considered legal by the federal government except for medicinal use. Unless marijuana use is legalized all those in all states whom are partaking in it's use is doing so illegally and therefor the federal government would need to implement a course of action before this bill could be considered. Example; the federal government would either need to start making arrests or legalize marijuana use under strict guidelines. Such guidelines would be similar to that which is used for alcohol consumption and motor vehicle operation.
    3) If marijuana use is legalized and guidelines are in place, then it would be no different then a person whom consumes alcohol. At this point in time, a commercial driver is allowed to legally consume alcohol under the guidelines for consumption and operation of a motor vehicle. Therefor, before this bill as proposed violates a persons civil liberties . Before this bill or one similar can be approved several actions would need to be enacted. For instance, either don't legalize it and take action with the states, or legalize it and create set guidelines for it's use and the operation of a motor vehicle for all.
    4) If a hair test is to go forward I do not believe it is in the best interest of the motoring public, and the work environment to be limited to just type workers. I believe that a persons constitutional rights would be violated if they are subjected to testing but their superiors are not. I strongly feel that hair testing needs to be extrapolated to those in leadership roles that make decisions that effect the lives of others. Case in point: The Toronto Mayor that openly admitted to using crack cocaine while

  8. 8. Trailrunner [ November 07, 2013 @ 10:54AM ]

    The Toronto Mayor that openly admitted to using crack cocaine while employed in a public position. It is an unjust act by our acting officials/law makers to propose or enact a bill as such when the federal government is sitting on the fence with the issues involved within this bill. Is marijuana use legal or not?

  9. 9. Johnny Dark [ November 11, 2013 @ 04:49AM ]

    Great idea. This is exactly what my organization has been demanding for years. MORE,MORE,MORE,MORE,MORE , and more. Applicants should have to pass the most stringent and complicated testing to be able to make a barely livable wage. Companies should have access to everything , DNA, family lineage, religious or non religious affiliation, just to name a few. Retina scanning to access the high tech command pod from which we control our craft. Would someone with power. Money , and commons sense please save us from ourselves.

  10. 10. 10dash4 [ November 23, 2013 @ 07:55AM ]

    Lets lead by example congress... you make hair testing for congress,pilots,policeman,welfare, ect...

  11. 11. Tom [ January 28, 2014 @ 03:48PM ]

    The major target for substance screening is cannabis for which the D.O.T. or anyone else has ever demonstrated as being hazardous. On the other hand alcohol is proven to be highly volatile and unsafe the statistics are self evident. Cannabis is just not that dangerous if it were there would be bodies in the morgues to prove it. This is not to say that it should be so tolerable as to allow consumption and operation of vehicles and or aircraft. No alcohol or cannabis use 8 hours before going on duty is a prudent sufficient rule to ensure safety. That being said there has been credible research that demonstrates that cannabis influence of an experienced driver is not that dangerous even less so than distracted driving cell phone use or eating while driving. But legislators often ignore valid data that does not fit their own bias. Humans co-evolved with cannabis there are cannabis receptors in a human brain. Nobody should use cannabis excessively but it is useful for reducing stress and it has been demonstrated that it does kill cancer cells inside the body.


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