Seven members of Congress have signed a letter offering their support for a petition submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration urging the agency to allow hair testing rather than a urinalysis to meet federal drug testing requirements for commercial truck driver applicants.
Signing the letter were Rick Crawford; R-Jonesboro, Ark.; Don Bacon, R-Neb.; Bruce Westerman, R-Ark.; Martha McSally, R-Ariz.; Steve Womack, R-Ark.; French Hill, R-Ark., and Ted Budd, R-N.C.
“If granted,” the letter states, “the U.S. freight transportation companies that filed the petition may use a hair analysis rather than a urinalysis to meet the federal drug test requirements for commercial driver job applicants.” It also says that hair testing is “more reliable in identifying lifestyle drug users than the less expensive and less reliable urine exam.”
Granting the petition, the lawmakers wrote, will enable carriers to continue to use hair testing rather than requiring the applicant to take two tests, urinalysis and hair analysis.
Noting that the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing, after which FMCSA could initiate a rule to permit hair testing as an acceptable method to detect controlled substance abuse, the letter said any rulemaking process on hair testing “could take years.”
“We support the granting of this petition for exemption as soon as HHS issues its guidelines and before the FMCSA subsequently completes its rulemaking process that will formally adopt HHS guidelines that these petitioners are already meeting,” the letter further states, adding that it would let carriers already using hair testing to save money for “already doing what the FMCSA rulemaking will allow.”
It says that carriers already using the hair tests are “already proving their commitment to keeping our highways safer by removing drug users from their trucks.”