From CCJ 1/14
Prompted by trucking interests, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., andRep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., introduced federal legislation this week designedto enable trucking companies to more effectively prevent lifestyle drug usersfrom gaining employment as commercial truck drivers. Companion bills in theSenate and House direct the Department of Health and Human Services torecognize hair testing as an optional method to comply with the Department ofTransportation drug testing requirements for truck drivers. > Under currentfederal regulations, only urinalysis is recognized by HHS for mandatorypre-employment drug and alcohol exams of truck driver applicants.
However, the number of truck driver applicants who pass apre-employment urine test but fail a subsequent hair test is alarmingly high,according to the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Driver Safety &Security, also known as The Trucking Alliance. For that reason, many truckingcompanies have turned to hair testing, which is more expensive, but is more effectivein identifying drug users who apply for jobs as truck drivers. “Passing thismuch needed legislation will give trucking companies the option of conductingeither a urinalysis or a hair test or both methods and will also allow positivehair tests to be reported to the soon to be created national drug and alcoholclearinghouse that Congress adopted last year,” says Gary Salisbury, a memberof the Trucking Alliance board of directors and the current chairman of theArkansas Trucking Association.
Congress mandated the creation of a drug and alcoholclearinghouse last year and the Department of Transportation is expected tohave the clearinghouse operational by next year. This database will identifyany person who has previously tested positive on a pre-employment drug examrequired by the federal government before being employed as a truck driver.However, unless HHS recognizes hair testing as an approved methodology, nopositive hair test results can be submitted to the national clearinghousedatabase. The new legislation introduced today will enable those drug testresults to be reported to the clearinghouse. “With millions of private-sectorjobs and businesses relying on the trucking industry, I’m working every day tofind new ideas to strengthen this economic powerhouse,” says Pryor, who alsosponsored the clearinghouse legislation that became part of the current highwaybill, MAP-21. “By allowing companies to eliminate duplicative processes, thisbill will ensure our businesses have the certainty they need to invest, expand,and create jobs while securing the safety of our highways for all motorists.”
Pryor and Crawford were joined by were joined by Sen. JohnBoozman, R-Ark, and representatives Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Steve Womack, R-Ark.,Tim Griffin, R-Ark. and Reid Ribble, R- Wis. “We applaud this bipartisan effortof our Arkansas congressional delegation and Congressman Reid Ribble fromWisconsin for introducing legislation that will help keep drug users out of ourfreight trucks and off our nation’s highways,” says Lane Kidd, senior managerthe alliance and president of the Arkansas Trucking Association.