A new study in Transportation Journal published by Pennsylvania State University Press investigates the effectiveness of hair and urine drug testing for U.S. truck drivers, comparing results from eight trucking companies with data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (DAC).
The findings reveal significant differences in drug detection rates, with hair testing proving to be nearly nine times more effective than urine testing. If extrapolated, this difference suggests that an additional 57,337 drivers might have been disqualified for employment in 2020 had the national truck driver population been subjected to hair testing.
Furthermore, the study highlights that urine testing is better at detecting marijuana, while hair testing excels in identifying “hard” drugs, such as cocaine, opioids, ecstasy, etc.
The researchers argue for the inclusion of hair test results into the DAC to enable prospective employers to know if a truck driver job applicant has previously failed a hair drug test, promoting a safer truck driver workforce, and by extension, safer roads for the public.