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Congress Calls for Hair Testing Update
Foley
2 mins read

OCTOBER 11, 2018 – What ever happened to DOT hair testing?

That’s what a provision in a recent Senate bill wants to find out.

The bill, which passed through the Senate last month, would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give an update on the scientific and technical guidelines they’ve been tasked with developing – as well as to provide a timeline for when their hair testing guidelines will be complete. If the bill is signed into law, HHS would have 30 days to provide an update on their progress, as well as to develop (and stick to) an implementation schedule.

That information was due almost two years ago, though no information has been given for the delay. Until that guidance is published, urine testing remains the only federally-regulated drug testing method for safety-sensitive employees.

Because hair follicle drug testing provides a longer detection window than a urine test, employers are able to see patterns of drug use that go back 90 days. Hair follicle drug testing is also nearly impossible to cheat, as  hair samples are collected directly from the donor at the lab. These benefits have made hair the preferred drug testing method for many large trucking companies who have been using hair follicle drug testing during the pre-employment process for years. Because it’s not yet an acceptable DOT drug testing method, however, they still need to send drivers for urine testing to fulfill federal requirements.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has been a big supporter of hair testing. “Many trucking companies are using urinalysis to meet federal requirements, while also paying the additional cost to conduct hair testing,” President Chris Spear said in a letter to the HHS last year. “We are frustrated that the previous administration failed to meet the statutory deadline and believe your leadership will finally see a resolution to this long-standing and important safety rule.”

What are your thoughts on hair testing? Leave them in the comments below!

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