The “Drug Free Commercial Truck Driver Act of 2015” is a bill that would allow the Department of Transportation to authorize hair testing instead of urinalysis.
Critics of hair testing claim that science doesn’t support hair testing, and that it’s simply not as accurate as urinalysis for detecting controlled substances by an operator.
The bill currently is receiving support from bi-partisan co-sponsors, along with support from the American Trucking Association along with some fleets.
According to Dr. Kent Peterson, president of Charlottesville, Virginia Occupational Health Strategies and Former Exec. Vice President of American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM):
“Hair testing has a window of testing for the previous months or weeks. If you take one and a half inches closest to the scalp it will give an indication of drug use for the past 90 days,” he says. “Hair testing may be used for pre-employment screening to show long-term use but it gives no indication of current use or recent impairment.”
Some critics argues that hair testing unfairly biases some drivers. According to Peterson,
“Curly haired and persons of color are more likely to test positive [because they have more melanin in their hair which binds more strongly with markers]. It’s believed that if hair testing were to be used and brought to court, it would be thrown out on that basis alone.”
It will be interesting in the coming months to see if the bill will garner additional support and pass into law, as it seems that the science justifying the bill isn’t concrete.
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