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Drug testing truckers’ hair remains a hot-button issue

Some of the nation’s largest trucking companies want federal approval to administer drug tests on commercial truckers across Alabama and the United States using their hair, in addition to already approved tests that rely on urine. According to Bloomberg BNA, the group of truckers and the American Trucking Association are among those who feel that this would help employers more effectively screen new hires and minimize drug-related accidents on U.S. roadways.

Advocates for hair testing argue that the process would allow commercial trucking companies to identify more hard drug users than traditional urine tests. Federal approval would also mean that hair test results would become readily available to trucking companies in the same manner that urine test results currently are, helping employers weed out potentially dangerous drug users while helping reduce the industry’s high turnover rates. The additional avenues for identifying drug users also may frighten truck drivers into abstaining from substance abuse, improving overall highway safety as a result.

Substance abuse in the trucking industry is hardly a new problem. According to Reuters, evidence gathered from 36 studies around the world involving substance abuse by commercial truckers found that about 30 percent of all truckers surveyed admitted to abusing stimulants while on the job.

Additionally, 3 percent of the American truck drivers surveyed admitted to using cocaine while behind the wheel of a truck, with another 20 percent admitting to using marijuana before operating their vehicles. The difficult nature of life on the road and the tight deadlines that tend to dominate the commercial trucking industry likely only exacerbate the substance abuse problem among today’s commercial truckers.  

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