Proposed Pilot Program to Evaluate Feasibility of Hair Drug Tests for Truck Drivers

sign that reads drug creenA new bill proposes the establishment of a pilot program to evaluate the use of hair from commercial truck drivers for drug tests.  The bill, HR 6641 has been introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble, Republican-Wisconsin.

His bill proposes that the United States Department of Transportation conduct a pilot program to evaluate whether hair can be extracted from commercial truck drivers for the purpose of conducting drug tests on these.  Currently, drivers are required to provide a urine sample to test for drugs. The American Trucking Associations has supported the use of hair follicle drug testing.

Drug use is a serious problem among truck drivers, and contributes to thousands of truck accidents every year.  Many truck drivers are addicted to drugs like methamphetamine, because these help them stay awake and alert for long periods of time.

However, conventional urine tests are easy for truck drivers to beat.  All you need to do is drink plenty of water to wash traces of the drug out of your system.  Many drivers take pills that can remove traces of the drug, ensuring a clean test.

However, testing on hair follicles is much more reliable, because traces of the drug remain in the hair follicles for longer periods of time.  A single half inch of hair from the head of a truck driver can provide a history of drug use going back up 30 days.  However, a urine test only provides a picture of drug use going back up to 3 days before the test.  Obviously, hair follicles tests are harder to beat, and are more reliable.

Hair follicle tests are not exactly unheard of.  Many trucking companies currently rely on these, when they conduct random drug tests on their fleet drivers.

Photo Credit: fstorr