Hair Follicle Testing Discussed at TCA Annual Meeting

drug testing

This week, the Truckload Carriers Association held their Annual Safety and Security meeting. During the fireside chat between the TCA and the FMCSA, the group discussed the new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and hair follicle testing.

To date, 24,000 drivers have tested positive for drugs or alcohol since the Clearinghouse’s inception.

FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen stated that the Clearinghouse is successfully keeping drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol from not disclosing it to their future employers.

During the discussion, the debate over hair testing verses urine testing was brought up.

Mullen said that the agency is looking at hair follicle testing.

Several carriers currently perform hair follicle testing; however, those positive tests can’t be reported to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse at this time.

Hair tests are believed to have a much longer detection period of up to 90 days for certain narcotics, versus 2 to 3 days for urine tests.  They’re also significantly cheaper to administer.

For years, the Trucking Alliance, an industry organization comprised of some of the largest trucking companies like Knight-Swift Transportation, J.B. Hunt, Maverick Transporation, U.S. Express, and others, has been a strong advocate of hair follicle testing.

The American Trucking Association also supports the stricter hair follicle testing.