Truckload carrier Gordon Trucking has started drug screening all driver applicants via hair samples with the stated goal of reducing new-driver accidents within the first crucial months of employment. The hair-testing, done under company authority, supplements the minimum Dept. of Transportation mandatory urine-testing requirements.

“Research has shown most accidents occur within the first 90-120 days of employment,” stated Scott Manthey, vice president of safety & compliance for Gordon. “Once a driver makes it through that initial period, the risk of an accident drops dramatically. We feel that a urine test combined with the longer timeframe of a hair test offers one of the best possible screening tools. We have concluded that this aids in selecting some of the safest and most professional drivers on the road.”

The program launched back in July with Omega Laboratories and has already shown beneficial results, according to Manthey. Of the 170 drivers already screened, hair-testing has detected 10 candidates who tested positive for drugs who would have otherwise been hired. “Beyond the candidates who have tested positive,” added Manthey, “we also routinely have candidates dismiss themselves from orientation classes once they confirm a hair test will be conducted.

“After considerable research, Gordon Trucking concluded that it was our responsibility to raise the bar for driver screening,” continued Manthey. “While the spread of dual DOT urine- and hair-testing programs is encouraging, additional reforms need to be implemented as well.”