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Workers Advocates Want Hair Testing Out of Transportation Bill

August 20, 2015

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In a joint letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, 17 organizations urged the committee to reject hair testing for federal drug tests.

The letter requested that hair specimen testing be removed from the DRIVE Act in the Senate and the Drug Free Commercial Driver Act in the House until the validity and reliability of the testing method could be determined by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The letter was co-signed by prominent groups such as the Teamsters union, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Transport Workers Union, United Steelworkers and others.

“Instead of allowing the experts at HHS to determine whether scientific and forensic evidence supports the use of hair specimen testing, these legislative proposals arbitrarily grant motor carriers the ability to use this unsubstantiated method of testing,” the groups stated in the letter.

The letter called into question hair testing, citing instances where hair specimens can deliver false positives for individuals who had only been exposed to illegal substances but never actually ingested. It also brought up the possibility of carriers being labeled “less safe” for using urine testing instead of hair testing.

“The process Congress established years ago has created drug testing standards that are not only effective, but scientifically and forensically sound,” the groups stated. “Any changes to these standards must be backed by similar evidential support carefully studied by the experts with such authority.”

Proponents of hair testing contend that hair urinalysis is less effective at detecting substance abuse because evidence of use has a longer window of detection in hair and it's harder to cheat on the test. The American Truck Associations and the group The Trucking Alliance both backed hair testing in March of this year.

"ATA is committed to improving highway safety, including doing all we can to prevent individuals who use drugs or alcohol from driving trucks," said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. "ATA's advocacy [of mandatory drug and alcohol testing] has resulted in a steady decline in the small percentage of drivers who use drugs, and hair testing is the next logical step."

However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is on record as criticizing the measure, saying the current urine-based standards are working fine and there's no reason to pursue hair testing as an alternative.

says that the current standards for urine-based drug testing for commercial drivers are acceptable and that there’s no need to pursue hair-based testing as an alternative.
- See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=29333#.VdZGqkXXzYo
says that the current standards for urine-based drug testing for commercial drivers are acceptable and that there’s no need to pursue hair-based testing as an alternative. - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=29333#.VdZGqkXXzYo
says that the current standards for urine-based drug testing for commercial drivers are acceptable and that there’s no need to pursue hair-based testing as an alternative. - See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=29333#.VdZGqkXXzYo
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that urine-based testing can more quickly detect recent drug use than hair testing, which can take from four to 10 days for the hair containing the drug to grow far enough from the scalp.

Read more at: http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38854

© Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
Reproduction, redistribution, display or rebroadcast by any means without written permission is prohibited.
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that urine-based testing can more quickly detect recent drug use than hair testing, which can take from four to 10 days for the hair containing the drug to grow far enough from the scalp.

Read more at: http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38854

© Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
Reproduction, redistribution, display or rebroadcast by any means without written permission is prohibited.

The groups that signed the letter were:

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
  • Air Line Pilots Association
  • American Medical Review Officers, LLC
  • American Train Dispatchers Association
  • Amalgamated Transit Union
  • Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association
  • National Workrights Institute
  • Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division
  • Sailors’ Union of the Pacific
  • Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
  • Transport Workers Union of America
  • United Steelworkers

Comments

  1. 1. JT [ August 21, 2015 @ 04:56AM ]

    Looks to me if you have nothing to hide then why worry. But clearly form the number of groups concerned about the issue, they must know they have members to protect from being exposed. If you do not use illicit drugs then there is nothing to be worries about. My company has been requiring HFT for years and I have never had an issue or problem nor a false positive. WHY? I DO NOT USE DRUGS!

  2. 2. RO [ August 21, 2015 @ 05:18AM ]

    AMEN JT . Follow the rules or get busted .

  3. 3. William [ August 21, 2015 @ 06:43AM ]

    OK then if this makes the roads safer then how about our government The president has got his finger on the button let's require all alcohol and drug test for all members of the government including the president we'll
    see how fast that gets passed

  4. 4. William [ August 21, 2015 @ 06:44AM ]

    Let's require the same rules and regulations drug test and alcohol test for everyone in the government see how fast that it's past

  5. 5. William [ August 21, 2015 @ 06:46AM ]

    If they don't have anything to hide nothing to worry about right !!!!!!

  6. 6. William [ August 21, 2015 @ 06:50AM ]

    It's just a clear case of the government over reaching its boundaries.

  7. 7. Paul [ August 21, 2015 @ 10:22AM ]

    hair testing is a good thing to happen. if they are not using they have nothing to worry about. there are more drugs available on federal jobs than people know, also felons . where are the safety and osha people on these jobs. in today's society you think being tested is violating your rights, balony, I would want to be safe working along side of someone.
    WAKE UP AMERICA, DRUGS ARE RUINING OUR COUNTRY.

  8. 8. Jessr [ August 22, 2015 @ 08:08AM ]

    Then why single out just commercial vehicles? How about drug test for anyone with a drivers license since the crash rate is more for automobiles than commercial trucks. While we're at it, let's make it mandatory that all trucking companies must use outside sources for drug testing, no more in house testing, which is, in my opinion, where most of the problem lies.

  9. 9. Wayne Schooling [ August 26, 2015 @ 11:29AM ]

    What they should do is COMPROMISE. Keep the testing as it is BUT when the person has tested positive then from that moment on hair testing would be required for life.

 

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