Photo: FMCSA

Photo: FMCSA

A letter signed by seven Republican Congressmen lays out their unequivocal support of a petition calling for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to allow hair testing in lieu of urinalysis to meet federal drug testing requirements for commercial truck driver applicants.

The signatories, Reps. Rick Crawford; R-AR; Don Bacon, R-NE; Bruce Westerman, R-AR; Martha McSally, R-AZ.; Steve Womack, R-AR; French Hill, R-Ark., and Ted Budd, R-NC, contend that hair testing is “more reliable in identifying lifestyle drug users than the less expensive and less reliable urine exam” and that carriers should be allowed to use only hair testing, rather than being required to test applicants also via urinalysis.

The lawmakers acknowledged that the FAST Act highway bill had directed the Department of Health and Human Services to issue hair-testing guidelines, a necessary first step before FMCSA can start a rulemaking to allow hair testing alone, but they pointed out that bringing about such a rule “could take years.”

That’s why the signers said they “support the granting of this petition for exemption as soon as HHS issues its guidelines and before the FMCSA subsequently completes its rulemaking process that will formally adopt HHS guidelines that these petitioners are already meeting.”

“Hair testing is more reliable (albeit twice as expensive in identifying lifestyle drug users than the less expensive and less reliable urine exam,” the Congressmen stated, reiterating the argument made by the more than a dozen major national truckload carriers that have petitioned FMCSA to allow it in place of urinalysis. 

“The companies will be able to utilize a single hair test, rather than requiring a job applicant to complete two tests-- a hair test and a urine exam,” the lawmakers added. Conducting only one test, the more reliable hair exam, will enable the carriers to collectively save more than $2 million each year.” 

The petitioning carriers, as noted in the lawmakers’ letter, are: Knight Transportation, JB Hunt Transport, Maverick USA, Dupre' Logistics, KLLM Transport, Crete Carrier Corp., Shaffer Trucking, Werner Enterprises, FFE Transportation, US Xpress, Cargo Transporters, HUB Group, and Schneider National. 

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David Cullen

David Cullen

Business/Washington Contributing Editor

Washington Contributing Editor David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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