Now, not later: Group wants FMCSA to allow drug testing of truckers via hair sample

October 28, 2016 – www.overdriveonline.com

A coalition of major carriers has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to immediately allow hair sample tests to satisfy federal rules requiring trucking companies to drug test truck drivers pre-employment. Currently, the agency only recognizes urine sample tests.

The Trucking Alliance, a carrier advocacy group that includes fleets like Maverick Transportation, Knight Transportation, J.B. Hunt and Dupre Logistics, submitted the petition.

The FAST Act highway bill passed last year opens the door for the agency to recognize hair tests in lieu of urine samples, but not until the Department of Health and Human Services creates guidelines for hair sample testing. The FAST Act requires HHS to finalize guidelines within a year of the law’s enactment, which would be Dec. 5, 2016 of this year.

The guidelines have not yet been finalized, however, and the Alliance says HHS likely will request more time to do so, further delaying carriers’ ability to test driver via hair sample, the Alliance argues.

“On this issue, the private sector is already far ahead of the public sector in utilizing the latest methods to detect drug users,” said Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance. “While we wait on HHS and FMCSA, we can possibly save lives with this exemption by keeping many hard drug users out of our trucks and off our highways.”

Some carriers like J.B. Hunt already test drivers via hair sample, but such carriers must still spend the money to test drivers via urine sample too, a practice that could be ended if the agency accepted drug screening via hair analysis, the Alliance members argue.

DOT advances rule to build database of truckers who have failed drug tests

Matt Cole – May 23, 2016 – www.overdriveonline.com

A Final Rule that would create a database CDL holders has been sent by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, its last stop before being published as a legally binding rule.

The Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will require carriers to report to FMCSA failed drug tests and test refusals of CDL holders.

Owner-operators, who are required by law to participate in random drug testing via a consortium, must report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers, including themselves, to the database.

Carriers would also be required to query the database when making new hires and once a year for existing drivers, according to the proposed rule published in 2014 by FMCSA. When querying the database, however, carriers would be required to obtain written consent from a driver before doing so and for access to information in the clearinghouse. If a driver refuses to allow the query, he or she would be barred from driving.

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