By Go By Truck News+ Updated: February 24, 2017 Attractive red-haired scientist looking through a microscope in a lab
Last month J.B. Hunt Transport, Schneider National Carriers, Werner Enterprises, Knight Transportation, Dupre Logistics and Maverick Transportation petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption to use hair testing instead of urinalysis for pre-employment screenings of truck drivers.
This week the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association submitted their comments in opposition to the proposed exemption.
In their comment, OOIDA says hair testing is an “unproven methodology using non-standardized procedures and protocols that could possibly affect the livelihood of thousands of drivers.”
The six carriers requesting the exemption say they believe their data “demonstrates that hair analysis is a more reliable and comprehensive basis for ensuring detection of controlled substance use.” They currently do use hair testing on a voluntary basis but if the FMCSA approves the exemption, any driver who tests positive for a controlled substance through a hair test would be sidelined until he or she completes the return-to-duty process.
According to OOIDA, urine testing is an established methodology and there are concerns about the reliability of hair testing. “Some of the concerns for using hair testing for controlled substance are hair color and texture bias,” OOIDA wrote. “There have been past studies that indicate that those with darker hair are more likely to show longer periods of time where drug use can be detected. It is believed that passive exposure to various controlled substances could be a concern. … There have been further concerns for those people who routinely color their hair and how those procedures may affect test results. There is also the problem that different individuals grow hair at different rates, which could not be detected by hair testing samples.”