This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
ON THE HORIZON Hair Versus Urine —


The Latest Debate Drug testing could get a lot more in-depth with new legislation on the horizon


BY TODD TRAUB ContributingWriter


In these days of more stringent, trucking


safety regulations and accountability, trucking companies are racing ahead of the federal government to embrace hair follicle testing as a method of drug screening. This form of drug test has met with


support and criticism, with supporters saying it gives a more thorough picture of a driver’s drug use history and detractors saying, among other things, that hair testing is a form of privacy invasion. There is one other problem with hair


testing, said Barry “Spook” Stang, executive vice president of the Motor Carriers of Montana. “You’ve got to have hair to test,” Stang said


jokingly. Assuming the nation’s driver workforce


doesn’t show up bald tomorrow, Stang, turning serious, said a growing number of trucking companies and associations support hair testing, though it has yet to be adopted across the board in Montana. “I know there are some trucking


companies that are doing it,” Stang said. Mandatory, random drug testing of all


commercial license holders is the law. Most employers can also test if there is a reasonable suspicion and employers can also legally test after a workplace accident or to determine if an employee is complying with a drug rehabilitation program. It is the responsibility of theDepartment


of Transportation (DOT) to adopt workplace drug testing protocols and thresholds as designated by theDepartment ofHealth and Human Services (HHS). HHS has only insisted on urine testing,


which meansDOT can only use urinalysis to meet screening requirements. Hair testing has become more widespread


and judicially accepted in recent years, with many trucking companies voluntarily


ROADWISE |


adopting the screening method. Because drug residue remains in hair longer than in the urinary system, hair testing is coming to be seen as a more accurate measure of a person’s pattern of drug use. While hair testing is still not approved


by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking companies, who must deal with the liability if a driver under the influence has an accident, have embraced hair testing as part of their employment screening programs and the American Trucking Associations also supports it. “I think the position would be that we


would support it,” Stang said of the Motor Carriers of Montana. Estimates and surveys differ, but it is


calculated that between 6-10 percent of driver ISSUE 4, 2013 | www.mttrucking.org


applicants use drugs. That is a huge risk for trucking companies to take and a sobering thought when one considers there are close to 3 million drivers in theUnited States, many of them operating 80,000-pound vehicles. That goes a long way toward explaining


why many in the industry support hair testing. “I think it tightens up the ability for a


trucking company to,No. 1, put a safe driver on the road,” Stang said. “And,No. 2, it reduces your liability.” Hair testing uses biochemical technology


to find microscopic traces of drugs, which can pass out of a person’s urinary system in a matter of days but may remain detectable in hair for months. Stang said efforts to get hair testing


into law in Montana have died in the state legislature, and he noted the FMCSA, despite


16 11


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24