New bill letscompanies run drug tests on truck drivers' hair
The entirecongressional delegation from Arkansas has proposed legislation that would lettrucking companies run random drug tests on the hair of their drivers, a movemembers of Congress and companies say would help make America's highways safer.
Sen. MarkPryor (D-Ark.) and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) introduced the legislation, H.R.3403, on Wednesday. They say it's needed because under current law, only urinetests are recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) forpre-employment drug and alcohol tests.
They arguethat many truck drivers are able to pass the urine test before being hired, andthen later fail a hair test, and that this has prompted many companies toexplore hair testing as a more reliable alternative.
Thelegislation would require HHS to issue guidelines for hair testing and allowthis method to be used for pre-employment testing and random testing duringemployment. But the bill would only allow later random tests if hair tests wereused at the pre-employment phase.
"My billestablishes hair testing guidelines that will help trucking companies identifydrug-abusing drivers," Crawford said Thursday. "More importantly,this bill will allow trucking companies to submit positive hair test results tothe national drug and alcohol database to ensure that we keep drug offendersout from behind the wheel of commercial trucks and off our nation'sroads."
The bill issupported by the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, a group that saidit supports efforts to keep drug users off the country's highways.
But it islikely to be opposed by others, including the American Civil Liberties Union.In a past report, the ACLU said drug tests obliterate the right to privacy forworkers.
"Employershave the right to expect workers not to be high or drunk on the job," theACLU says on its website. "But they shouldn't have the right to requireemployees to prove their innocence by taking a drug test. That's not howAmerica should work."