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Required hair testing in trucking could take years

Long-awaited guidelines on using hair tests to detect drugs in the workplace have been sent to the White House but a federal requirement for truck drivers will likely take years, according to a trucking policy expert.

“Scientific and technical guidelines for the inclusion of hair specimens” to detect illegal drugs, along with standards for certifying laboratories in federal agency drug testing, was sent by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an agency within the executive branch, on June 11.

Because the guidelines are more than two years overdue – Congress had directed the guidelines be issued in December 2016 – their arrival at OMB is significant.

“This has been a long time in coming, and it represents seriousness on the part of HHS to move these forward,” David Osiecki, President and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, told FreightWaves. “But it’s just a step, not the final rule.”

Osiecki pointed out that once the OMB approval process is completed – which itself could take 90 days or more – two federal agencies would have to go through a rulemaking process before hair testing for drugs is required for commercial drivers: one from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC), and one from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

ODAPC advises the DOT secretary and publishes regulations on drug and alcohol testing among the federally regulated transportation modes. Each modal agency then must adopt testing procedures based on those regulations, Osiecki explained.

“So we’re actually years away from hair testing in the commercial trucking sector due to the steps that still have to be taken,” he said.

That’s either good or bad, depending on where you sit. At a Congressional hearing on June 12, American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear testified that hair tests for drug use are more difficult to subvert.

“However, since urine is the only sample type permitted under DOT regulations, companies that voluntarily conduct hair tests must do so in addition to mandatory urine tests. This duplicated time and expense deters fleets from adopting this more effective testing method,” Spear said.

The ATA’s support for mandatory hair testing was bolstered by drug-test survey data released by the Trucking Alliance that found over 300,000 drivers currently on the road would fail or refuse a hair analysis.

Small business truckers represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), however, have so far opposed requiring hair testing in federal drug and alcohol test procedures.

“We have concerns about hair testing, such as biases toward hair color and texture, and the lack of any evidence of a connection between hair testing and crash reduction,” OOIDA told FreightWaves in a statement.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

79 Comments

    1. It’s invasion of privacy and unconstitutional. You have zero right to “randomly” search my home or car, so why do you have the right to search my body?

      1. What may be in your body may be harmful to others. Drugs. You drive with drugs in your body your unsafe and a drug test may remove users off the road as it should be.

      2. They should search your body because you are a danger to thousands of people on every trip. In your home, not so much. If you have nothing to hide you whiny little bitch, you wouldn’t complain about this. Get off the dope, stay away from the bottle, and do your job the right way.

  1. We just bring your milk, but the people in charge of making sure it won’t kill you don’t have to test. When Congress is forced to take a test then we will have a different discussion. Maybe Elon musk can bring your toliet paper when he’s done with his joint.

    1. Just more government how does a hair test determine if that person was under the influence hair test does not give an accurate measurement at that moment in time or the level of drugs in the system. I understand piss test. Just more money and more Goverment .

      1. How about a simple blood test that actually tells if your currently intoxicated. That’s too simple for these morons.

        1. You go get stuck with a needle ass hole first off before you run your pie hole I hate drug users I’d like to suffocate all of them there no more than a parasite but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna submit to a blood test they already infringe on my personal rights by forcing me to take a piss test and by doing so they are accusing me of being a drug user that’s defamation of caricature and is supposed to be against the law but they think they can do what they want so you actually live in a communistic country

          1. defamation of caricature ???
            I hope that was not a typo because that’s funny as fuck and almost makes up for your ignorant ass comments

          2. I would love too see you get hurt and need to use a narcotic for pain management and get addicted after needing them for months on end for the pain. People dont always choose to become addicted to it. It’s not like they wake up one day with the deepest desire to go fuck up their whole life over some stupid high.

    2. So true everyone who works has a responsibility for safety in some way everything in america not equal and until it is all the evils will continue

  2. I’m fine with hair testing. I shave my head, however since I’m 54 yrs old, I have plenty of hair on my back, in my ears, up my nose, and my eyebrows resemble an overgrown hedge. You want hair? You can have it all, says this non drug user.

    1. I usually shave my head too. I have a mustache but they are not touching that. They take a nose hair and I’ll give them a knuckle sandwich. Nose hairs hurt when you pull them.

    2. This is another safety lie. They won’t enforce the law that say you got to read and speak English but they want your hair? Ok how about the back ground check on Hazmat and Twix card. Hazmat is English only but you got people with Hazmat and Twix cards that can’t speak English. But they can go on the port and get the container? For safety why can’t the officers enforce the back ground check??

        1. Usually I’m not that hipocrite, but since you are focusing on foreigners, and you don’t know how to spell Twic, shame on you.

      1. People like Ioral Roger are bullies, the topic was not even about foreigners, it was about drug test.
        This is showing how ignorant you could be.

        1. But the problem is pretty much Mexican and Pakistani bullshit in the trucking industry its irritating that most of you isnt from this country but you still benifit from everything without having to pay fucking taxes goddamn wetback!!!

  3. My parolees drugee type friends say it’s the easiest to beat, and we just had a driver quit because he had been selected for urine test said he would like to do a hair test instead.

  4. Started in 1980. Yeah Fred, i still got a full head of hair, but like you they can sample a perfectly curled nose hair if they want. I know drugs get used, ive always detested drug use. It always seems to me guilty until proven innocent. Anyway,, im almost out. Sample all the hair they want and run electric trucks. No fun in that.

  5. I say why not, I’m an independent trucker never have used drugs nor do I drink so bring it on!!!

  6. only real concern is hair testing could go back decades depending on your hair and if you have been in a hospital ever odds are you have had schedule 2 drugs that might still be detected in the hair it’s not really a good test because of how broad a time it covers. Drug testing was implemented to detect current drug use this way steps over the line.

    Personally never taken anything that wasn’t prescribed but hell if I remember everything I have been prescribed in the last 5 years let alone 20.

  7. I’all be happy to give them a hair sample,I’d simply shave my head eyebrows arms legs chest , but I’d save a little hair right around my asshole.I guess desperate times deserve desperate measures!

  8. If they are forcing hair tests on the drivers, I am ready but I want to see it in the office as well

  9. Now require the same when you receive state or federal assistance. Or when you are voted in public office. Let’s level the playing field. I don’t do drugs but I’ve always believed what a person does on their time is there business. Generate a test that shows you were high 8 hours prior I’m all in. But with the states legalizing it I see nothing but issues here. Canada has made it completely legal. Those drivers should not be allowed to cross the American boarder.

  10. Screw the ATA. They don’t give a damn about truck drivers or whether this being mandatory is going to do any good or not. They’re just the voice of the big companies. I’ve done the hair follicle test with the military and for a driving job. It was more annoying than anything. It might tell them what you did twenty years ago, but does the past preclude you from being a good driver now? Those who are trying to get around it will find a way.

  11. When every Field of business has to do the hair test , than truckers will. What I do on the weekend ain’t no body’s business . Going back 3 months when I was on vacation enjoying myself , isn’t hurting no one 3 months later.

    1. Your right about that. The real reason they want to disqualify 300,000 drivers is so they can scream even more about the driver shortage and jack up the rates.

  12. Hold up…you mean Ethopian, Russian, Mexico and Canada trucks can run our Interstate and Highways but yet cant speak, read a word of ENGLISH! Where is the proof they taken the hair test. Dont give me that passe cop out about, ” If you not using then you have nothing to worry about. Hell Benadryl and Collard greens can set them urine test off. What are you really looking for the hair test? Schneider snd JB Hunt calls that test the DNA test. Yall looking for some other bias reason to stop certain people from earning a living HONESTLY. Hair texture alone can determine what group of people come from. GTHOH! Stop lying to the public and the drivers. It them 4 wheelers need a test of how to stay the hell away from 18 wheelers. Change lanes 15 ft in front of us then slow down. Where is the FMCSA at then?

    1. I agree if I have to go through all the BS then why shouldn’t every driver you got DOT physical every 2yrs if you’re lucky you got to pee in a cup of your old lady gets made cause you had to finish a run and she thinks you’re messing around on her (lost 2days pay while waiting on results) I m all for no drugs while driving but if I did smoke weed on my 34 then that’s my business hell when I used to drink I would get up some days and feel like hammered crap. Jump in my truck and take off down the road . Thank God nobody got killed or hurt but had a buddy guy hit him and died of a heart attack and they charged my buddy with wrecklis endanger ment took his CDL and jail time over 2beers cause he should have known better than to be drinking wasent his fault guy had a heart attack. But it s crap like that is so shitty . We’re held to a higher standard why not higher pay . I just don’t get it.

  13. Hair test is needed cause fake urine is easy to get, I used quick fix synthetic urine, worked every time. I drove a van for V3 out of Seville ohio

  14. This is discriminatory against people with hair.
    How will this affect drivers who are bald? Or have alopecia?
    Nothing stopping you from waxing your hairy parts so they can’t get a sample. This is just idiotic.

  15. So absolutely no money in government to actually check and charge rape/murder/missing cases; but let’s put it into this… Smh makes great sense… I’m all about safety, but honestly there’s a ton of shit to pass those tests too… Just a waste of money that could be distributed to truck drivers in tax breaks and so on…

  16. Well I find it suspicious that a trucking alliance headed up by the CEO of maverick and members knight-swift, and from may trucking, jb hunt, kllm,us Express want more government oversight, and that 300,000 driver purge wouldn’t benefit them greatly in the way of creating even a bigger driver shortage and they certainly wouldn’t take full advantage of that by raising rates.
    And that 300,000 drivers are just a speculative estimate at best.
    It’s called stacking the deck and trying to get the whole industry to run by the rules they have adopted for their own companies. Therefore they are the ones setting policies that they feel will be advantageous to their bottom line.

    1. And when the little guy is gone watch what happens to the rates there’s no compatichon so you pay there price cause there the only show in town just wait and see.

  17. Screw the ATA and their big box band of accident prone companies. Problem with hair testing gets too personal in a persons life and goes to far back .should only go back no more than 60 days, for numerous reasons suppose person is a newbie on cdl and now stopped doing whatever to start his career but aince ATA is so fucking nosey guy is labeled a druggie for how far back it went and never given a chance.im only 18 yrs in but your triple og’s cant sit here and bash what im saying but you know 65% of your generation was messed up on something didnt complain then.though it was a differant time unlike in todays jackass enviroment we have to deal with . I say stay sober so its not over . But trucking always been a place for second chances or societies odd ones and with this i dont see anyone getting a second chance

    1. So what your saying is truck drivers are all retards and misfits? Well in a way that’s true because now days they can higher any freaking idiot and not train them then put them in the seat of a truck and send them out on the road so they can just be a nuisance and a hazard 99% of all these idiots have no idea what there doing they drive like ass holes why because they were never trained correctly there should not be a trucking school or there so called training classes they need to be made to run teams with a driver that’s been running for a minimum of ten years and has been taught the old way that’s what you call a second seat driver for all you children out here thinking you know everything already as for drug users I say execute them all

      1. Rich I think you have the first part right I learned from my grandfather no school changed my own tires no auto, fridge, TV , none of that. drive that was the name of the game. But the second half I don’t agree with back in the day I was knowen to take a little black pill and tip a bottle. Haven’t done rather one in probably 25 yrs knew it was going to get me or someone else dead and I don’t think I should be killed for it everybody deserves a second chance.

    2. Why do hair testing for drugs lol they say next 10 years Driverless tractor trailers and alot other commercial vehicles wont need drivers at all say,1.7 million drivers gonna lose their jobs in the next 10 years so you gonna hair test robots retards

  18. So much easier to get DNA from hair than urine. The hair could be submitted to company health insurance providers to determine hereditary health issues which in turn could raise your premium or disqualify you all together.

  19. Why should it take years to complete. A lot of places do it. Apply, interview, go for drug screen, give pee sample, cut or pull a strand of hair, send it out, and 3 to 5 days,, got results. What’s the big deal.

    1. Because it’s invading your personal privacy for one. Second it’s just another way to control another human I thought slavery was abolished? I also thought this was a free country there saying all this shit in the name of safety I say bullshit! You want to make roads safe get all these freaking foreigners the hell out of trucks and out of are country and make the new drivers actually learn how to operate safely I say make them drive with no Jake brakes no power steering no air conditioning and drive a twin stick if they can do that as a second seat driver and stick it out for a year or two then turn them loose on there own they’ll probably make a decent driver

  20. I would not fail. But I would refuse.
    I am most serious about that.
    I think the ATA, which is about as anti- American council as could possibly be perceived truly want to drive independent drivers completely out of the industry. They want young drivers who are impressed with a 600 dollar a week paycheck and a chance to get out on their own away from their parents. So the loads that self driving trucks would not be able to do are covered by cheap, impressionable labor who has no idea how to figure things out for themselves.
    Besides that, my hair is cit just the way I like it and I pay almost 100 dollars to get my hair done and precision cuts can be ruined by on little snip.
    Sorry. I will not submit. Some of you guy’s might as well put your balls on the plate and beg them to smash them. It is a matter of principal.
    One of these days, these young ones will get sick of sleeping on the side of the road, will get tired of fast food, get sick of cameras watching your every move, of being tracked like prisoners. The trucking industry will use them like a pump uses a young runaway child. They will make you feel good about it until you want to seriously have your own life. No, they own you 24-7. They let you go home. That is what they do. They let you, because they own you. Sad, but very true.

    1. You are ABSOLUTELY right. This is all about industry power and control. I’ve yet to see data that shows this testing would significantly improve safety or performance.

    1. I wouldn’t let them smoke pot in my house and if I knew they smoked it at all I’d disown there ass family or not! Drug users are all garbage and should be tested as such

  21. This is a non issue, by the time the regulations are done and ready, most drivers won’t be needed anyways thanks to AI and autonomous driving. However, the simple facts are that hair testing covers 90 days where as blood and urine are testable for up to 30 days depending on substance. That will cause there to be a smaller group of people who are qualified and willing to work for the low pay many new truckers are offered. Besides, I don’t see there being huge improvements in driver performance between 30 and 90 days assuming its random still. Though this is a huge profit potential for labs that have the proper equipment.

  22. I thought they were trying to close the shortage gap of drivers, what I do on my home time is my business. Not my employers.

  23. Yeah go ahead do it !… then go have a beer and a cigarette to relax after a long hard day of ?? Ruining the lives of people who used a less dangerous chemical during their off time!
    What a bunch of daddy’s boys .. gov. Jumps!

  24. For those proposing these new guidelines , let the testing start with them. They also have a job to perform that affects the safety of the public. How can we get that rule instated

  25. So this is what’s next, the government another step closer to 1984. Why do we need testing that goes back 60 days. I go to Vegas and eat a couple legal edibles and I loose my CDL 45 days later.? Bull crap. Meanwhile the pos beer guzzling trump voters get in their truck hungover or still drunk at the JB/swift/Knight yard and cruise down the road. I think all truck should have ignition interlocks that detect alchohol and then blood test after an accident. No amount of testing is going to stop addiction and drivers from using drugs. The hardcore addict always finds a way to get around it. There is already many products to pass hair testing.

    1. Hey I think you dropped your double standard, blame trump voters cause you wanted to get high and failed a drug test.
      What was that you said? I think it was no amount of testing will stop the addict?

  26. I agree why not piss test and hair test everyone that receives welfare. Let’s see how many pass that!!!!

  27. Whats this? More government regulation and over reach that hurts the industry again?
    ITS NONE OF THE GOVS DAMN BUISNESS….
    knock knock hello, free market says it weeds out the bad because thats what companies do and dont need a “helping” hand from the dam thieving gov.

  28. So pot-heads are still really that despised? Seems like a notion more apt for an old fogie. You’d be surprised how many intelligent, responsible people use cannabis. Many of you probably have worked with them and you didn’t even know it. Because of the hate projected upon them, they would rather keep it on the hush.

    Besides, all drug tests are essentially designed to “weed out” the pot users. It’s pretty much the only drug that you can piss hot for even though you smoked it weeks ago.

    Wanna sandblast some Cocaine off some hookers rump on a Friday night? Cool. You’ll most likely pass on Monday.

    Wanna get zooted on a little methamphetamine two days before a long haul? Ok

    Oh, and there’s the king of all drugs…. alcohol. I don’t need to say anything else about that.

    Like a few already mentioned, you can find ways to beat these tests. But the hair follicle test is ineffective at catching people when they’re “dirty”. All it does is open you up to scrutiny for something you might have done as a one-off thing months ago.

    There are tests they can administer that will detect the concentration of metabolites in one’s system to determine if one is stoned at the time of operating. USADA already uses this method with their athletes. A threshold is set and if users test over that limit, it will be determined by the nanogram per milliliter, thus signifying whether the individual was high when he/she was OFF DUTY enjoying their time on the Earth as a sovereign being, and not behind the wheel….high as a kite.

    Times are changing. Get with it or get rolled over.

  29. Instead of attacking drivers, and trying to take money out of our pockets, go after the 4 wheels and there cell phone use…I like to call the cop with license plate number for them to pull them over..Now there’s some money to be had…Alot of these accidents are the 4wheelers…ride with a cross hanging off there mirror. Alot of this stuff with drivers come from the new generation, of steering wheel holders.I started in 1996..you would never see a driver pull into a spot or park on the side of the fuel island where no one else could get out.backing up is horrendous they can’t even do that…
    I have seen where they won’t do this or that. So consequently, the companies have had to change the was things where done, ie 34/hr
    restart. Because these babies couldn’t do the job..Now everyone is in the drivers pocket..,So have more testing the companies have pay for that and where does the monies come from? Yep..the driver..Well when they don’t get there Golen toilet paper to wipe, there Golden…..
    Then maybe will see some respect for the driver.. Divers used to be respected…now it become cheap labor with all the laws.that they don’t even enforce…go. figure..The New Generation of Trucking

  30. Honestly, it’s like talking to a wall…fellas..we need to get PERSONAL PROTECTION ORDERs against alot of these COLORFUL FIGURES..

  31. Attorneys don’t work for free..So there you go..!..no matter how high the stakes are..no means no

  32. So what’s going to stop them from doing a genetic profile after the drug test. It not about the drug testing. They want another place to pull profile’s. The government been wanting to do this over every American citizen for years. This is just another step to get this. It’s already been said it’s unconstitutional. But since we really don’t have any help in Congress they will do as they please. To bad some of that 300 thousand that won’t take the test isn’t because of they won’t pass it because we will not have are rights stripped away…

  33. Jeez lueez. What a bunch of knuckle heads. The problem is not the drug testing nor how it is done. Wake the hell up. it is WHY are they drug testing? Simple. Because far to many of the new breed of driver today is a drug user.

  34. The last I heard,hair sampling goes back ten years.I don’t think someone should be disqualified for something they did Ten years ago.If they pass the urinalysis they should have a shot @ the job.period

    1. If you are weak enough mentally to do drugs you need to go to the DMV. turn in your CDL. When asked why ? You tell them your too stupid to have it. Hair drug testing is like the rings on a tree to tell its age and its history. They can tell when drugs were used in your hair. It is a thing called trust. use drugs once there is a good chance you will again and the companies don’t want to take a chance on that.

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