Trucking Companies Seek FMCSA Approval for Hair Drug Screen Analysis

Six trucking companies are seeking approval from the Federal Motor Carrieer Safety Administration (FMCSA) to use hair sample analysis instead of urine tests as part of the pre-employment screening process for truck drivers.

At this time, truck drivers must have urine testing under current FMCSA rules to be screened for drugs and alcohol. However, the carriers, which include J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., Schneider National Carriers Inc., Werner Enterprises Inc., Knight Transportation Inc., Dupre Logistics Inc and Maverick Transportation, have told the FMCSA that data clearly shows that hair analysis is more reliable and comprehensive to ensure detection of drug use.

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These trucking companies say that there is no place in trucking for drug use. The problem with urine analysis is that it will only detect drug use from the several days prior to the test. A hair analysis will detect drug use weeks or months in the past.

Research also indicates that the postive rate for truck driver applicants with the hair test is almost four times higher than for those tested by urinalysis.

The challenge today is that the drivers who were turned down due to a positive hair test may be working somewhere where the trucking company does not use hair testing. That is why the six trucking companies want the FMCSA to mandate hair testing for drugs throughout the industry.

The companies are now seeking an exemption from the FMCSA that will allow them to stop doing urine testing and use just hair analysis to pre-screen potential hires. If this exemption is given the green light, all truckers who tested positive in a hair analysis in the past would not be able to return to duty until they are retested and verified to be drug free.

Some say hair testing is not a good option because it is not as reliable as urine testing. The problem, they say, is that a hair test cannot distinguish between the drug being inside the hair and having gotten into the hair from outside contamination.

Our View

Our tractor trailer accident attorneys would like to see the best possible testing according to the latest science to check truck drivers for drug and alcohol use. We hope that the FMCSA will approve the use of hair testing to test potential truck drivers to ensure that they are safe and fit for driving.

Our experience as personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in truck crashes tells us that many lives are at stake here. Truck crashes devastate families and lead to massive wrongful death lawsuits. Anything that can be done to make the roads safer, we want to see it hapen.