Two bills were filed on Thursday, one each with the House and Senate, that would allow carriers to use hair samples for drug testing prospective drivers. Currently the law requires that carriers must use urine analysis tests for pre-employment screenings.
The congressional bill is being proposed by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) along with Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), and the house bill is being proposed by Reps. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Womack (R-AR), Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Reid Ribble (R-WI). In a statement from Sen. Pryor’s office, the bills, titled The Drug Free Commercial Trucking Act of 2013, would allow the DOT to “to recognize hair-testing as alternative option to give companies greater flexibility when conducting drug and alcohol testing.”
Currently if a carrier wishes to conduct hair follicle drug testing, they may do so, but it does not count as the mandatory drug screening that is currently a federal requirement. This causes companies who wish to be as accurate as possible in their pre-employment screenings to pay for two rounds of drug screenings.
Hair testing is far more accurate and efficient at weeding out potential drug users than urinalysis. According to Sen. Pryor’s office, “urinalysis is often less effective in detecting substance abuse, with only a 2-3 day window of detection, than hair- testing, which provides a 60-90 day window.”
The gap between 2-3 days and 2-3 months makes a huge difference. Between March of 2008 and June of 2012, Schneider National’s urinalysis drug tests disqualified only 120 prospective drivers, while hair sample testing disqualified 1,400 applicants.
Next Story: Fleet Owner Pleads Guilty To FMCSA Bribery