Drug testing for truckers via hair progresses as Senate, House introduce bills

Kevin Jones & James Jaillet | November 01, 2013

drug testCompanion bills that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to recognize hair testing as an option for carrier compliance of drug testing requirements for truck drivers were introduced this week in the House and the Senate. 

The bills are aimed at preventing lifestyle drug users from landing jobs as commercial truck drivers. 


Carriers promote hair drug testing

Major trucking leaders continue to advocate for the option of drug testing using hair instead of urine.

Right now, only urine testing is recognized by Health and Human Services and is mandatory as a pre-employment test for truck driver applicants. 

The Trucking Alliance (a group of large trucking carriers) and the American Trucking Associations are advocates for allowing hair testing to be used instead of urine testing. As noted by a report on Overdrive last year, ATA researcher Abigail Potter, when speaking to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2011, using a hair sample to test for drug use yields much higher positive tests. About 2.4 to 10.4 percent more driver applicants are screened out due to positive drug tests when using hair, she noted. 

Several large carriers already use hair drug testing in their pre-hiring process, including Schneider, J.B. Hunt, Gordon Trucking, C.R. England and Roehl Transport. Click here to see that story.


DOT: Despite state measures, marijuana still illegal for drivers

Marijuana will remain an unauthorized drug for both recreational and medical purposes for truck drivers under the U.S. Department of Transportation's Drug and Alcohol Testing ...

The bills introduced in Congress this week also have ties to the drug and alcohol clearinghouse the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it is working on: Requiring HHS to accept hair testing will allow test results from hair-only drug tests to be reported to the clearinghouse. 

A similar bill was introduced last December in the House by Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble, but did not go anywhere. 

  • guest

    Lots of companies use “labs” that are Crooked…and dont actually TEST the Wizz……they “certify” the Wizz as clean…and many ARRESTS have been made of the Proprietors of those labs. Lots of CROOKED trucking companies send all their Samples to THOSE labs..for obvious reasons….many recent articles are online about these crooked operations…so the cops have a good idea about Folicle Testing….but the dope addicts and their crooked employers wont like it.

  • Paul Miller

    I have no hair on my head – I hate to think where they are going to pull some from!

  • From Florida

    You really have no clue regarding what this is truly all about. This is not about catching more drug users or screening out more applicants for driving jobs. This is about continued regulation of an industry, far beyond the regulation of any other industry in this country. You hardly go a day, without hearing about some other regulation that is being put upon the trucking industry. Obama wants rail, and in his attempts to put the small trucking companies out of business (so the government can then easily regulate the larger remaining companies) he may well get his way. If the trucking industry, as a cohesive unit, continues to stand by and allow these regulations to be placed upon us, one by one, little by little, then it won’t be long before Johnny single-truck owner is out of business. Notice that the Trucking Alliance is in support of this. The Trucking Alliance is made up of all these large fleets that you see going down the road. They have a vested interest in making it harder for the small trucking companies. If the big fleets want to hair test, all they have to do is state that they do hair testing on all applicants. They don’t need to push for regulation for it to be the mode of testing for all trucking companies. WAKE UP!!.

  • Virgin Pacific.Inc

    When will there be drug testing for Canadian drivers.
    Currently there is NO testing requirement if you don’t cross into the states.

  • Rosco

    Paul your one of those funny drivers ahhhhhhhh your arm hair my gosh that’s why we are rated as 5th grade education. my oh my

  • Rosco

    WoW; the from florida comment trucker that’s sums it up That’s the nail on the head I own my 1 (one) truck company and they treat me the same as any big compant Example they ask me how many trucks I have when its right there in front of them….And belve me you are monitored a lot more than you :DRIVERS” would ever want to belive because you DRIVERS know how driving by a accident how it happens then how you all express your opinion on the “Pull Over at the next Exit and you thing your the only one on the CB>Read the from florida ad again & again its so true WAKE-UP DRIVERS ….You all park at walmarts like you own them and then wonder why they don’t want Trucker in there lots you all know who you are so Yes WAKE-UP

  • PattyCakes

    Wow brother, we must be family !

    I’m surprised they haven’t ‘ Edited / Deleted ‘ your comment yet, as it seems those of us who call a Spade-a-Spade are not so welcome here.

    Like you, I’ve had my fill of the Truck Nazi’s. I’m totally surprised that some D*ck-with-Ears hasn’t chimed in with the usual moron comment … ” They’re just doing their job “

  • Ken Nilsen

    I’m curious, if you combined the top 10 fleets what would be their percentage of trucks? There are currently 3.6 million registered Class 8 trucks on the road. I would venture to guess that the top 10 combined are less than 15 percent of the total.Rail will never have 100 percent of the business as that is physically impossible. Bringing drug testing into the 21st century in no way will cause a decline in small business truckers.

  • Del Ray Johnson

    I agree did not even read the article to understand it fully @##$% why do we need a federal law about drug test hair test? Regulate this mandate a fair minimum wage for all drivers!

  • Stormy

    Take this link, take the link for the house bill to reject the July1st restart HOS and every single story printed about the abundance of regulations and ignorance of this administration and mass mail it to every Congressmen, representatives and news media you can find. FMCSA isn’t ping to listen. Maybe the others won’t either but it only takes a few minutes and we only need to get the attention of one person to get the word out.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    Discrimination at its best how many other professions are forced to do this BS I will be a proud man when all of the mistreated truckers in America get fed u enough to unite and stand by one another and shut this discusting place called the united states down and show all the suit wearing monkeys that they don’t run this country. The trucking industry has been on a downward spiral ever since deregulation and the government has let the ATA and themselves ruin the trucking industry by cheap wages, rates, bad or no health insurance at all no benefits for most drivers, no respect and if you or any other idiot thinks that driving a truck across country and making 50,000 or 80,000 a year is good money u are dead wrong you have no life no future. Because if you figure your living expenses on the road at these over priced SHIT HOLE so called truck stops your are spending way more than you should be. and treated like a dog because that so called good company that you are hauling for making them 2:50 to 5:00 dollars a mile driving that nice new truck but of course they can afford it they have a slave working for them. Become business smart get your own authority learn the business better buy your own truck and become independent and quit making excuses because anyone can make excuses but not everyone can make money. And by the way they can pull a hair sample right outta the crack of my ass.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    And yes I am independent and always will be.

  • Martin

    It would be nice if you could at least give the bill numbers so that readers can check out the bills for themselves. thanks

  • guest

    If you are Bald they take it from ur Arm Pit…true!

  • guest

    If ya dont use dope what is the difference…Pee or hair?? They ALREADY have dope testing legislation…the Hair is more effective….but only takes a second…OI do Agree it is MORE ignornant Laws being forced…but Dopers should NOT be operating heavy equipment or making any DECISIONS…Hung Over BOOZE hounds should stay home too.

  • guest

    If you are a causal doper this folicle test goes Back about a YEAR..theycan see in the folicle that there was DOPE in your system…..YES it is Further unwanted INTRUSION..but f the DOPER smashes into YOU….then will you be happy?
    They are hiring TONS of Newbies….who are “trying out” trucking..for kicks……the pressures of trucking may drive them some Old or new habits????? Their ARE toomany Laws already…but this one has some Merit….IF you dont use dope….somemay puff a joint at HOME…this law Could put a stop to that….and again That is Intrusive….

  • Ron Palmieri

    I expect every supporter to lineup and get there’s pulled too…or your fired!! Your driving habits will be monitored, you will be exempt from mitigation and you can carry your history, around your neck for life, same as me. You are the motoring public and just as responsible for highway safety as I.

  • MercenaryMan

    I dont think theres ANY out there on DOPE driving a truck for any length of time, todays drug testing would catch you, YOU make it sound like DOPE is bad, Pot is one of the best medicines for Arthritis, Cheo therapy, Nausea, Siezures and on and on….Id rather have a trucker smoking pot then drinking beer…

  • Gordon A

    just wait, like it or not there will be more small regulations passed that in themselves are not get in your face but will have an impact. Together these small regs will be no less then gestapo tactics when combined. One here , One there. then they become burdensome.

    An example.

    How about a Federal or state regulation that states you must meet a minimum dress code. They dictate a color and that is the color you wear when on duty.
    Safety orange would be nice.

    Your seen and of course the seat belt would be too. Such as long sleeve shirt / blouse, no open or soft toe shoes,

    When on duty steel toes or other recognized safety type shoe MUST be worn , Long pants and of course these clothing regs will have a tread count for your safety. Think this is silly ? Years ago we thought so with the seat belt regs. Prior to 1972.

    Remember now. The government says this is for YOUR safety and it will make our highways safer..So was a drug test for employment considered years ago and now a new way to get your DNA. Think it won’t happen.? Hold your breath it is coming. Several states are seriously considering things like this. All in the name of safety. You just don’t argue with safety. The regulation wording yes. Reasons for it. Yes. I have seen a lot of changes in 45 + years driving a truck and it hasn’t all been good. If I can hang in two and a half more years it is adios . I will be on the outside looking in.
    You drivers be safe out there. Your the minority on the road and the biggest target going. Dash cam . Invest in a dash cam. It may save your butt one day.

  • Michael


  • mike

    well if they want to make it a law then make it a law for the whole country not just truckers . get the hell off our ass.

  • Richard Sparks

    They can take it from my nut sack.

  • haller

    Drug test truck drivers by hair testing, common sense would be to drug all drivers, all drivers of vehicles, and we all know that would take 40% of cars off the roads.

  • Dave

    So, Human Services will hand out welfare checks to addicts. But, someone wanting to work. Will be judged by their past. Lets not forget. Hair samples can go back a few years or more. (look it up). They can almost tell what you had for breakfast a year ago through hair samples. I don’t want anyone doped up driving a truck down the road. But, this is bullshit. They can already drug test you at unsanitary road sides. And, if your charged for this kind of testing. Start at $1000.00. I’m sure the big companies get a cost break. Or, they might of lowered it some.

  • craig

    This has nothing to do with being intrusive. I do beleive trucking is being over-regulated dont get me wrong. But it going take no more or less time to pull hair then pee in a cup. If you are not doing drugs you will have nothing to worry about. If you are the occasional user that has gotten lucky and not tested positive yet. Well then you will be sol and I dont feel sorry for you. Yes it would be nice to have it done to all drivers including cars, but its not. Quit whining about it.

  • martymarsh

    Drivers go to TruckingTruth on facebook, you will see it is all your fault.

  • Buddy Blanton

    i agree…but so,e of the one mandating and performing the testing would be taken of the road as they would be included in that 40 %…so of course they wont recommend
    such a logical thing

  • Jeremy Hale

    To be honest I can name a whole slew of jobs that have federally required drug testing.

    Any safety sensitive job is required to be tested by federal regulations.

    A short list. Airline pilots, airline mechanics, forklift drivers, power line workers, any number of jobs concerning chemicals, longshoremen, and several machinists.

    Very small example of a very large list.

  • Steve LaFleur

    They are allowed to use a 90 day window for hair testing, not a year.

    If you someday puff a joint at home, you are using dope. I learned this the hard way and it’s this simple.

    If you want to drive a semi, you can’t smoke weed. There are other careers that are more permissible. Not transportation.

  • Jim Kennedy

    u better be askin’ who’s doin the cutting? and those same guys/gals who don’t like u to begin with r coming at u with scissors.

  • Paula Sue Miller-Niles

    alot of truckers then will be bald, shave their pits, shave their arms and legs, shave their pubs….seems if they want to single out truckers, lets drug test the President on down…..we will never have a president then or same faces in congress that are there now…..

  • Dave W

    Suck it up buttercup. The biggest argument I head from the right about drug testing welfare recipients was ” I have to do it for work ” so eat your own words and move on.

  • Blackwood

    How about that bunch of hypocrites up on Capitol Hill pass legislation where they’re drug tested instead of making rules for us to follow.

  • Terry Taylor

    Knew that already and it doesn’t make hair testing OK,thought it was about impairment and not lifestyle.

  • BRD


  • Chris

    Lets start seeing drug test for Congress and Senate as well
    and make it public….

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Not trying to bust your bubble , however hair testing is easyer to beat than the piss test ! two girls i know did it when CPS was screwing with them , one of them got redy to go down and take the test at my house , after treating her hair she had a two to four hour window to get the hair sampel cut off her head , she passed and she was dirty .

  • Jimmy the Greek

    they need a small baggy full , not just a few hairs , they melt the hair down in a soultion then test it the same way they do the piss .

  • Jimmy the Greek

    No sixty to ninty days that it

  • Jimmy the Greek

    They dont pull the hair out ! they cut it . the Folicle part is under your skin as much hair as is needed for the test you would be bleeding all over the place if they jerked that much hair out , Not to say how pain full that would be

  • Jimmy the Greek

    I know a few that have been out here for years , dont kid your self .

  • Jason Haggard

    if they make it mandatory for all license classes and for every politician currently in office then I would support it. Otherwise no, professional drivers are continually being treated as criminals before being found guilty.

  • Craig Vecellio

    So….when are they going to make the same testing mandatory for welfare? If I have to test for a job, they should have to test for a free ride that I’m paying for.

  • Craig Vecellio

    That would clear up the traffic problem for truckers wouldn’t it?

  • Craig Vecellio

    If they don’t cross into the states, why should we care, and why would the FMCSA care?

  • Virgin Pacific.Inc

    Sound like you are worried about losing your job if it happens in Canada. The process is underway and that will be the day I look forward to when all commercial drivers like so many other jobs have drugtesting. Tired of hiring people that can’t fill out a logbook properly because they are high on drugs and better yet make the road safer.

  • g

    Interesting…….some LABS are crooked too…for Money your test becomes suddenly Clean! lol…..

  • Craig Vecellio

    How does “why should we care” sound like I’m worried? I’m clean as a whistle, and I drive stateside. I used to drive for Roehl, so I’m familiar with hair testing too. Doesn’t bother me one bit. Your post sounded like you were upset about Canadian drivers not being held to the same standard as U.S. drivers, much like Mexican drivers. Then you go on to talk about how they aren’t tested if they don’t cross into the States. Now that I understand differently…I think…you are posting from the veiwpoint of a Canadian carrier on U.S. drug testing policy with regards to Canadian drivers driving in Canada…which makes no sense at all. Take your issues up with Canada, not the U.S.

  • Virgin Pacific.Inc

    OT is a N American Forum. Canada and US is One issue. Orig statement was Canada should have the same standard when it come to Drug testing as US. I didn’t know Canadian companies was banned from posting on OT forum. after all they are licensed by FMCSA.

  • Craig Vecellio

    No they aren’t banned, but Canada and the U.S. are NOT one issue. What Canada does inside Canadian borders with regards to Canadian drivers is of no concern to the U.S. or the FMCSA. The FMCSA is only of concern to drivers inside U.S. borders. Yes, that would include Canadian drivers, if they cross U.S. borders. If they don’t, then that’s why “Currently there is NO testing requirement if you don’t cross into the states.” If they only drive in Canada, then they are not “licensed by FMCSA.” Last I checked, Canada and the U.S. were two separate sovereign nations.

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