A group of large truck carriers has submitted an application to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requesting the results of hair testing for drugs be reported to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
The application includes motor carriers Cargo Transporters, Dupré Logistics LLC, Frozen Food Express, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., KLLM Transport Services, Knight Transportation, Maverick Transportation LLC, Schneider, Swift Transportation, US Xpress and May Trucking Co. All are members of the Trucking Alliance.
Although FMCSA lacks the statutory authority to grant the request, the agency is seeking public comments.
Trucking Alliance members currently use hair testing in addition to urine testing. The Alliance seeks “to amend the definition of actual knowledge to include the employer’s knowledge of a driver’s positive hair test, which would require such results be reported to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and to inquiring carriers.”
As of Dec. 31, 2020, the Clearinghouse reported 104,840 drivers with disqualifying violations. One study commissioned by the Alliance concluded that an additional 58,910 drivers would have failed pre-employment drug tests in 2020 if hair testing had been used instead of or in addition to urine testing.
There’s mounting support for the hair testing option, notes Ken Presley, Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO.
“There seems to be some inevitability that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services will eventually sanction hair testing as an option,” said Presley. “The department issued a Notice of Public Rulemaking nearly two years ago. However, they are being very deliberate in their approach to the issue.”
Advocates for hair-testing argue the method can detect drug use up to 90 days afterward and sometimes longer, and it is more difficult to cheat.