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Legislators Propose Drug Screening Changes for Drivers

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The commercial trucking industry would have more options available for pre-employment drug screenings under legislation two Arkansas lawmakers introduced in March in Congress.

The Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015, filed by Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, would allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognize hair testing as an alternative option to the Department of Transportation required urinalysis testing.

“My bill’s only concern is improving the safety of our roads,” Crawford said. “Some drug users, when they know that a drug test is likely, are able to abstain for just a few days before the test and beat the system. This bill would catch a much larger percentage of those drivers and keep them off the roads.”

Many commercial trucking companies are already using hair tests because they find it is more effective in screening potential hires for drug or alcohol abuse. But because of federal regulations, those testing hair still have to conduct urinalysis tests. The bill would simply allow those companies to drop the duplicative process.

J.B. Hunt Transport has been testing hair and urine samples for nearly a decade. Between May 2006 and December 2014, the company had 110 driver applicants fail the urine test while 3,845 people had drug-positive hair test results. Schneider National, based in Green Bay, Wis., found similar results. Between March 2008 and June 2012, they had 120 prospective drivers fail the urine test while 1,400 applicants had drug-positive hair test results.

“Preventing drug users from operating commercial trucks will improve safety on our roads and enhance industry standards,” Boozman said. “This legislation eliminates the duplicative drug-testing process and allows trucking companies to use the more effective option, without having to pay for two tests.”

“Americans rely every day on the safety of our roads and highways as they commute to their jobs, travel to schools and recreational activities, and transport goods and products across the country,” co-sponsor Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, said.

This bill is supported by the American Trucking Associations, the Arkansas Trucking Association and the Trucking Alliance.

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You are here: Home News In Brief Legislators Propose Drug Screening Changes for Drivers