FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sean McNally
March 19, 2015
ATA Urges Congress
to Back Bipartisan Hair Testing Legislation
Bills Introduced to Give Trucking Companies Additional Safety Tool
Arlington, Va. – American Trucking Associations asked lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation introduced today that would allow trucking companies to use a highly effective tool – hair testing – to meet federal requirements and prevent drug users from getting behind the wheel of trucks.
“ATA is committed to improving highway safety, including doing all we can to prevent individuals who use drugs or alcohol from driving trucks,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “ATA was an early advocate of mandatory drug and alcohol testing of drivers before it was required, and has since promoted improvements such as hair testing and the creation of a national test results clearinghouse. ATA’s advocacy has resulted in a steady decline in the small percentage of drivers who use drugs, and hair testing is the next logical step.”
The Drug-Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015, introduced today in the Senate by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and in the House by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), would give fleets the option of using hair tests, as an alternative to traditional urine tests, to meet federal requirements.
“Leading employers in a variety of industries around the world have recognized that hair testing is a very effective method to detect drug use,” said Dean Newell, vice president of safety and driver training, Maverick USA, Little Rock, Ark. “Hair tests are difficult to evade or subvert and provide a better window into an applicant’s potential history of drug use.”
A number of fleets voluntarily conduct hair tests, in addition to mandatory urine tests, to identify habitual drug users who may otherwise briefly abstain from use or otherwise attempt to “beat the test” to gain trucking employment. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office highlighted the severity of these limitations in DOT’s current urine drug testing program.
However, because hair tests have not yet been accepted by DOT to meet federal testing requirements, other fleets have been deterred by the redundant costs of employing hair testing programs in addition to the required DOT urine-based tests.
“Though the trucking industry’s positive testing rate is remarkably low, Congress should provide a means for fleets, as part of the DOT testing regime, to further identify and eliminate from the industry those who don’t share the industry’s commitment to highway safety,” said Graves.
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward.