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Facts are mounting to support action by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) to address an acute drug abuse problem among US truck drivers. FMCSA should no longer wait to do what Congress authorized six years ago – authorize hair drug testing, in lieu of a urine test, of commercial truck drivers.

Mission Statement: “The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Drug Impaired Driving Increases the Likelihood of Crashes: “Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk.” – National Institute on Drug Abuse

FMCSA Must Strive for a Drug-Free Commercial Driver Workforce: “The US Congress recognizes the need for a drug and alcohol free transportation industry.” – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

A Drug Abuse Problem Exists Among Truck Drivers: Peer reviewed research examined “trucking industry data and finds about 300,000 truck drivers would be removed from their positions if forced to pass a hair drug test.” – DRUG TESTING IN THE U.S. TRUCKING INDUSTRY: HAIR VS. URINE SAMPLES AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY AND THE INDUSTRY; Journal of Transportation Management; Winter/Spring 2020; Vol. 30 No. 2

FMCSA’s Drug Test Method Misses Most Drug Abusers: “The Trucking Alliance gathered 151,662 paired preemployment urine and hair drug screenings from fifteen (15) different trucking companies. Their results indicate a discrepancy in the number of drivers who could successfully pass a pre-employment urinalysis drug screen and those who could pass a hair test. While 949 (0.6%) applicants failed the urine test, 12,824 (8.5%) failed or refused the hair test. FMCSA classifies refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol screening as a failure. This yields a hair test failure rate 14.2 times larger than urine.” – AN EXAMINATION OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL CORRELATION BETWEEN COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVERS; September 3, 2019; Joe Cangelosi, Ph.D. and Doug Voss, Ph.D.; University of Central Arkansas

Congress Has Directed FMCSA to Recognize Hair Testing: “The regulations shall permit motor carriers to conduct preemployment testing of commercial motor vehicle operators for the use of alcohol; and to use hair testing as an acceptable alternative to urine testing in conducting preemployment testing for the use of a controlled substance; and in conducting random testing for the use of a controlled substance, if the operator was subject to hair testing for preemployment testing.’’  – The FAST Act of 2015

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Has Urged FMCSA to Utilize Hair Testing: “Investigators reviewed the truck driver’s toxicology test results from a variety of sources, including a urine test, a hair test, and a post-crash blood test. The test results indicated a pattern of drug use not identified by the US Department of Transportation drug testing program. This investigation reaffirmed the need to gather data on the prevalence of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver use of impairing substances and to consider alternative drug testing methods.” – “Multi-vehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 75, Chattanooga, Tennessee”; National Transportation Safety Board; Accident Report; NTSB/HAR-16/01; PB2016-104807

Hair Testing Does Not Treat Ethnic Groups Differently: Researchers compared 145,199 hair and urine test results among seven ethnic groups. Researchers applied the “Four-Fifths Rule”, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, §1607.4 – Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, and “were unable to find racially disparate impacts.” – DRUG TESTING IN THE U.S. TRUCKING INDUSTRY: HAIR VS. URINE SAMPLES AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY AND THE INDUSTRY; Journal of Transportation Management; Winter/Spring 2020; Vol. 30 No. 2

Hair Testing Has Not Created Legal Challenges for Trucking Alliance Carriers: In 2015, Congress authorized FMCSA to recognize hair testing for commercial truck drivers. Since 2015, Trucking Alliance member carriers have disqualified 18,640 drivers who had a positive hair test for drug use, of which not one person has filed a legal challenge, claiming ethnic disparity or a false positive hair test result. – Data compiled by The Trucking Alliance (2015-2020)