ARLINGTON, Virg. — Earlier this week, the American Trucking Associations president and CEO Bill Graves wrote a letter to Congress asking them to move forward with legislation that would allow fleets to use hair samples as part of a federally required program of drug screening for commercial drivers.
“Every day, thousands of hair tests are performed worldwide within both the private and public sectors,” Graves wrote. “Their reason for using hair testing is laudable … hair testing is an effective tool for identifying drug users due to its long detection window and because it is difficult for donors to beat the test.”
He outlined that Fortune 500 companies like General Motors and Shell, as well as several trucking companies use hair testing already, but argued the cost of redundant mandatory urine tests prevents more fleets from using this widely accepted drug testing method.
“ATA is aware of thousands of truck drivers who have tested positive for illegal drug use on hair tests and have obtained driving positions with other carriers because they were subsequently able to pass DOT-required urine tests,” Graves said. “Several of these drivers have had crashes and, of course, future ones are likely as a result.”
Recently, a survey of four large carriers revealed that in 2015, 706 drivers failed the pre-employment hair test, but passed urine tests.
“Hair testing is a validated, proven and effective method for detecting illegal drug use that has been widely embraced by private industry and many governments worldwide,” he said. “Congress should remove impediments to the adoption of hair testing by trucking companies that follow industry standards . . . Moreover, Congress should reject efforts to protect the employment of drivers whose drug use might otherwise go undetected.”