Does the DOT Need to Update Drug Testing Requirements?

Jennifer Gladstone

Share

DOT-Hair-TestingThe Department of Transportation has very strict guidelines when it comes to drug testing people who work behind the wheel in a regulated industry.  Right now, urinalysis is the only universally accepted drug testing method allowed.  That means if a trucking company gets a positive test result for a driver, they are allowed to share the information with other employers in an effort to keep drivers from hitting the road under the influence.

Urine testing only detects drug usage within about a 48 hour period, and that is all that is legally required. If there is an accident or incident, this is helpful, but it’s not enough if you are trying to weed out chronic drug users.  

Several trucking companies have decided to add hair follicle testing to their regular screening process because it can detect drug use as far back as 90 days.  J.B. Hunt Transport Services told the Arkansas Business News that the company has kept more than 3,000 drivers out of their vehicles because they failed a hair test.  Of those, only 90 had positive results on their urine samples.

Company officers might pat themselves on the back for catching these habitual users and keeping them away from their fleet; instead, they are frustrated because legally they are not allowed to share the hair testing results with other employers.  That means those 3,000-plus drivers might not be in a J.B. Hunt vehicle, but they are probably on the road driving for someone else.

Advocacy groups are trying to get the DOT to allow companies to choose the testing method they feel is best, and allow them to share the results.  A representative from the Arkansas Trucking Association says it is possible that legislation to make follicle analysis a standard form of testing might be introduced in Congress as early as this year.

In the meantime, hair follicle testing is available.  It does cost more than the urinalysis, but the difference might be a small price to pay to keep impaired drivers off the road. 

Substance Abuse Testing: Protect Your Workplace and Your Bottom Line

 

****

Employment Background Investigations is a technology driven leader in domestic and global pre-employment background checks, drug testing, occupational health screening and I-9 compliance. We specialize in development, implementation and management of customized employment screening programs for large and multi-national clients. We are dedicated to information security.  EBI is the only NAPBS Accredited background screening company to hold both an ISO 27001:2005 certification for information security and an ISO 9001:2008 certification for Quality Management.

All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on state laws and industry regulations.

Photo Credit: mattbx via Compfight cc

Drug Testing

Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

Comments