Rep. Representatives Advocate For New Hair Drug Tests
Following the recent federal implementation of stricter drug regulations on truck drivers, Republican Representatives Chuck Fleischmann (Tennessee) and Reid Ribble (Wisconsin) are asking the Department of Transportation to implement a new pilot program that will transition from using urine samples to test for drugs to hair samples.
According to Fleischmann and Ribble, urine tests are too easy to cheat on by using synthetic urine for example. Also, most truck stops sell drug detox pills that clear the body of all traces of illegal drugs. In addition, the Government Accountability Office conducted a study in 2007 in which all undercover agents were able to gain access to testing sites using fake driver’s licenses. In turn, this would make it easy for a trucker to send someone with “clean” urine to complete the test in his or her place.
Even if a trucker didn’t resort to illegal measure in order to tamper with the results of his or her drug test, all that he or she would have to do is refrain from using illegal substances for a few weeks prior to the test in order to get drugs out of system and produce a negative result. While this confirms that the trucker hadn’t used drugs extremely recently, it is ineffective at indicating whether or not someone is a regular drug user.
One trucking group that currently uses hair samples instead of urine tests is Kidd’s Trucking Alliance. This small group of six carriers includes J.B. Hunt, whose company records report that hair tests are up to five times more likely to produce positive drug results than urine tests alone.
Certain critics, such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, worry that implementing a hair testing policy will potentially lead to discrimination, as it is much harder to detect drug use from samples of lighter-pigmented hair, thus white drivers will pass hair test more successfully. However, the American Transportation Association is firm in its belief that hair tests will make it easier to identify truckers using illegal drugs, thereby increasing the general level of safety on the country’s roads.