Trucking Alliance Seeks Federal Permission to Use Hair Drug Testing Methods

The Trucking Alliance is seeking permission from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its drug testing protocols from standard urine tests to hair tests to gain a more accurate representation of when drugs were consumed by drivers.

Full story after the jump.

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance, is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) to amend its regulations and require carriers with knowledge of positive hair tests to report the results to the FMCA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, according to a notice set to publish in the Federal Register today.  

Hair testing for drugs is an ineffective way to determine when someone has used a substance as it detects repeated drug use over 90 days but because hair growth rates vary from person to person, it doesn’t accurately determine when in the 90 days drugs were used. A 2019 study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal found the method “less efficacious” than using urine screenings.  

In an interview with Land Line, Jay Grimes, director of federal affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), called the proposal “another misguided attempt to mandate hair testing for the nation’s commercial motor vehicle drivers that will not reverse the trend of rising crashes and fatalities involving heavy trucks.” 

“Given the many uncertainties and lack of safety improvements from hair testing, there is no sound reasoning for federal agencies to adopt any sort of hair testing mandate for drivers. This is in large part why FMCSA does not have the statutory authority to even grant such an exemption, as rightly mentioned in the notice.” — Grimes to Land Line 

In 2020, Moseley Marcinak Law Group asked the FMCSA to allow Trucking Alliance carriers – which includes Cargo Transporters, Dupre Logistics, Frozen Food Express, J.B. Hunt Transport, KLLM Transport Services, Knight Transportation, Maverick Transportation, Schneider, Swift Transportation, US Xpress, and May Trucking Co. – an exemption to allow them to use hair testing rather than urinalysis, according to Land Line. The agency formally denied that request in May 2021, saying that it lacked the statutory authority to do so. 

Despite the FMCSA’s inability to allow the exemption, it is accepting public comments on the proposal for 30 days.

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