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Hair Testing Delayed: How it Impacts You
3 mins read

APRIL 5, 2017 – A proposed rule to federally mandate hair follicle drug testing for motor carriers has been delayed due to scientific and technical concerns. Although a congressional mandate required a rule in place by December 4, 2016, officials now estimate that the proposal won’t be released until at least late 2017 or early 2018.

The suggested regulation is part of the Fast Act transportation bill, which was signed into law by former President Obama in December 2015. The bill allows hair follicle drug testing to become a DOT-approved method. However, in order for that to happen, the Department of Health and Human Services must create hair follicle testing guidelines first.

Related: An In-Depth Look at Hair Follicle Drug Testing

Currently, drug testing using urine samples is the only federally-mandated option to screen for evidence of drug abuse. Nevertheless, several large trucking companies, such as J.B. Hunt and Schneider National, perform hair follicle drug testing in addition to mandatory urine testing. They do so citing significant evidence that hair testing provides greater accuracy in identifying long-term drug users.

Why Is This Significant to Motor Carriers?

Companies in favor of hair follicle testing say it provides more accurate results for drug screening. While many drugs are only detectable on urine tests for less than a month, hair follicle testing shows up to 90 days’ worth of narcotic use history.

Related: Your DOT-Drug Testing Regulations

In addition, the nature of hair follicle collection procedures makes it more difficult for candidates to cheat the test, since samples are collected in person by a medical professional. Proponents of hair follicle testing say urine drug tests are often falsified by test subjects by taking certain supplements or using another person’s sample.

While there has been some concern over the accuracy of hair follicle testing and the additional cost (hair testing is twice as expensive as urine testing), many motor carriers and fleet owners still believe getting hair follicle testing federally mandated is the best way to keep dangerous drivers off the roads.

While you wait for hair follicle drug testing to become approved by the DOT, Foley can help ensure that your current programs and policies are compliant with the regulations in place today. To get started, call (800) 253-5506 to speak with a compliance specialist.

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