Can Hair Follicle Drug Testing Lower Truck Accident Rates?

Dallas, 06/14/2017 /SubmitPressRelease123/

Over the last few years, hair follicle drug testing has become a hot topic in drug testing for commercial truck drivers. Experts still debate on whether this type of test is more accurate than a traditional urine test.

While this may seem like just another drug test debate, it could determine whether commercial truck drivers are properly screened for drugs, which can help take dangerous drivers off the street before they cause devastating truck wrecks.

“Drug testing at the workplace is always fraught with controversy,” stated attorney Amy Witherite of Eberstein Witherite, home of 1-800-Truck-Wreck. “The problem is that no one can agree on what’s most effective, whether it’s hair follicle drug testing or urine tests. It also goes into issues of privacy, so there is a lot of debate about what type of test to administer. But it’s an important issue, because when you combine a drug-impaired driver with a 26,000 pound vehicle, you have the perfect storm for a truck wreck disaster that can affect lives forever.”

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Recent Push For Hair Follicle Drug Testing

In January, six big truck carriers petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement hair follicle drug testing for their employees.

According to an article on, “Truck drivers currently are required to undergo mandatory urine testing under FMCSA’s federal regulation regarding pre-employment screening for drugs and alcohol.”

But the six carriers would like to switch over to hair testing because they said research has found that follicle testing is more accurate than urinalysis for detecting drugs and alcohol in a truck driver’s body.

The reason is that urine tests are only effective in detecting drugs and alcohol consumed within a few days prior to the test, where hair follicle testing can detect substances within just a few hours.

In fact, the article states that through hair follicle drug testing, drivers are four times more likely to have a positive rating than those tested with a urine test.

The six truck carriers are concerned that this discrepancy could mean that drivers who fail a hair follicle drug test can apply to another truck company that uses urine tests and pass that test, creating a potential hazard for other motorists on the road.

How Reliable Is Hair Follicle Testing Really?

Despite the concerns of these six truck carriers, an article on Bloomberg BNA indicates that there is little agreement that hair follicle drug testing is more accurate than urinalysis.

For example, the article states that “Hair specimens can test positive for drugs that the donor was merely exposed to – known as external contamination – but didn’t use. A federal appeals court has also found the procedure to be scientifically unreliable, ruling in favor of black police officers in Boston who argued that studies show an inherent racial bias because darker and more porous hair retains drugs at greater rates.”

And in fact several civil rights organizations – including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – have pushed against the use of hair drug testing, believing that there are ulterior motives why the large truck carriers are pushing for hair follicle test.

One motive that may be driving the big carriers is that they know that hair follicle tests cost double that of a urine test, but they also realize that they can “negotiate lower rates with testing businesses and laboratories, and often do.”

As a result, the big truck carriers know that smaller carriers would not be able to afford the cost of hair follicle tests. Smaller carriers that don’t use hair follicle testing “could then be characterized as being less safe, whether they do so because they don’t want to pay double for hair tests or because they don’t want to use a procedure that lacks a widespread, scientific consensus.”

For now, the debate continues as the FMCSA has not ruled on whether it will allow the six truck carriers to use hair follicle drug testing, but this is clearly an issue that will be debated until the FMCSA makes a final ruling.

Keeping Your Life Running

When you suffer injuries from a truck wreck, the team at 1-800-Truck-Wreck will become your lifeline.

We understand how difficult it is to put the pieces of your life back together, including: going back to work, getting to the hospital, making sure you attend rehab sessions and even climbing out of bed every morning.

That’s why our team of lawyers, investigators and support staff is focused on restoring your mind and body, getting you back on your feet and keeping your life running in the weeks and months after a truck wreck.

Whether it means providing you with transportation to and from medical appointments, or making sure you have the financial means to keep going until your claim is settled, we will be there for you every step of the journey.

“We hope you never have a truck wreck,” states Amy Witherite, “but when you do, we are there to guide you and to ensure that you never feel anything less than part of our family.”

Media Contact

Lucy Tiseo

Eberstein Witherite, LLP

Phone: 800-878-2597

Email: [email protected]

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