American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO Chris Spear wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Tom Price this week calling for the federal government to quickly release guidelines and standards for the use of hair samples in mandatory drug testing of truck drivers.
ATA spearheaded efforts to allow carriers to use hair testing as an alternate test method to traditional urinalysis in the most recent highway bill, but to date HHS has yet to issue the necessary standards to allow those tests to go forward.
This week, the HHS agency responsible for developing those standards, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, holds its Drug Testing Advisory Board meetings to consider hair testing, putting HHS well behind its congressionally mandated deadline.
“Many trucking companies are using urinalysis to meet federal requirements, while also paying the additional cost to conduct hair testing,” Spear said in his letter. “We are frustrated that the previous administration failed to meet the statutory deadline and believe your leadership will finally see a resolution to this long-standing and important safety rule.”
ATA, and many of its member carriers, believe based on experience that hair testing is more effective at preventing habitual drug users from obtaining jobs as truck drivers, thus improving highway safety.
“Making sure America’s truck drivers are safe and drug-free is among ATA’s highest priorities,” Spear said. “This commitment is why ATA led the charge for mandatory drug testing of commercial drivers, for the creation of a clearinghouse for drug and alcohol testing results and the use of hair testing.”