The American Trucking Associations is continuing its push to allow hair-testing to be used in lieu of urinalysis to detect drug use by CDL driver applicants.
In a March 20 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear called for HHS to quickly release guidelines and standards for the use of hair samples in mandatory drug testing of truck drivers.
ATA pointed out in a statement that HHS has yet to issue the necessary standards that would allow those tests to be implemented. It also noted that this week ,the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (an HHS agency) will hold Drug Testing Advisory Board meetings to consider hair-testing, “putting HHS well behind its congressionally mandated deadline.”
“Many trucking companies are using urinalysis to meet federal requirements, while also paying the additional cost to conduct hair testing,” Spear said in the letter. “We are frustrated that the previous administration failed to meet the statutory deadline and believe your leadership will finally see a resolution to this long-standing and important safety rule.”
According to ATA, the association and many of its member carriers contend that, based on experience, "hair-testing is more effective at preventing habitual drug users from obtaining jobs as truck drivers, thus improving highway safety."
“Making sure America’s truck drivers are safe and drug-free is among ATA’s highest priorities,” Spear said. “This commitment is why ATA led the charge for mandatory drug-testing of commercial drivers, for the creation of a clearinghouse for drug and alcohol testing results, and the use of hair-testing.”
Spear’s letter comes a month after the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (a.k.a. the Trucking Alliance) submitted a set of detailed comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that strongly support a petition calling for motor carriers to be exempt from having to use urinalysis to test for drug use by CDL driver applicants.
In January, David Heller, vice president of government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association, told HDT that once HHS “vets its guidelines to incorporate hair testing as an 'and/or option' for its drug testing protocols, carriers can use that option to better define the drug history of a potential driver.”