The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is urging U.S. lawmakers to support proposed legislation that would allow commercial trucking operations to test drivers for drug use by sampling their hair.
In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, ATA CEO Bill Graves said that testing hair for evidence of drug use is more effective than other testing methods.
“Every day, thousands of hair tests are performed worldwide within both the private and public sectors,” Mr. 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.”
“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.” Mr. Graves added. “Several of these drivers have had crashes and, of course, future ones are likely as a result.”
An analysis of four large major commercial carriers found that in 2015 alone, 706 drivers failed pre-employment hair tests yet passed urine tests.
Mr. Graves indicated that the U.S. government lags behind others that have already implemented hair testing as the standard for drug 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,” Mr. Graves 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,” he said, referring to organized labor groups that oppose the testing methods on the grounds that the results can be contaminated by environmental factors and racial bias.
Mr. Graves called those concerns “unfounded and overblown,” and said that studies have shown drug testing on darker colored hair does not yield significantly different results.
Source: American Trucking Associations