A bill, H.R. 6641, introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), would require the Dept. of Transportation to conduct a pilot program to evaluate the use of hair samples to test commercial drivers for illicit drug use.

Hair follicle testing is more expensive but can detect illegal drug use over a longer period of time, proponents claim. Each half inch of head hair provides a 30-day history of drug use, while urine tests provide a two- to three-day history in most cases.

“Hair testing, which research and experience shows can be much more effective than current, conventional sampling and testing methods, is the next logical step in this process and we thank Congressman Ribble for introducing this important legislation,” said Bill Graves, ATA president & CEO. “ATA also thanks Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) for signing on as an original cosponsor."

“No fleet wants to put the safety of the public at risk by putting an impaired driver behind the wheel of one of its trucks,” said ATA Chairman Mike Card, president of Combined Transport, Central Point, OR. “More effective drug testing procedures can help us make sure that doesn’t happen. ATA invites the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to join it in supporting this approach to improving the regulated testing program.”

Several trucking companies, including Gordon Trucking of Pacific, WA, and C.R. England, Salt Lake City, UT, already use hair testing in addition to urine tests required by the DOT.