www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/15486-ata-pushes-for-hair-samples-as-drug-testing-alternative
Chris Spear

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear
Photo: American Trucking Associations

ATA pushes for hair samples as drug-testing alternative

March 22, 2017

Arlington, VA – The American Trucking Associations is calling for the federal government to release guidelines and standards regarding the use of hair samples as a drug-testing method for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear made the request March 20 in a letter sent to recently confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. Congress required HHS to establish hair-testing guidelines by Dec. 4, 2016, but the agency missed the deadline and has yet to address the requirement.

Hair testing is an effective method to determine drug use among CMV drivers, ATA claims. Compared with urinalysis, hair testing is easier to collect, more difficult to manipulate and provides employers with a longer time frame to detect drug use, the organization states.

“Completion of this already overdue mandate will unlock tremendous safety benefits by providing trucking companies with the option to use hair testing as an alternative to urinalysis in meeting federal drug testing requirements,” Spear wrote to Price, who was confirmed Feb. 10. “[The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] has long expressed an interest in recognizing hair testing as a federally accepted drug-testing method, but the lack of action is having real impacts on the industry.

“Many trucking companies are using urinalysis to meet federal requirements, while also paying the additional cost to conduct hair testing. We are frustrated that the previous administration failed to meet the statutory deadline and believe your leadership will finally see a resolution to this long-standing and important safety rule.”