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Trucking companies adding haircuts to their drug screening process

Written by Steve Gursten Posted August 29th, 2012

There is an estimated 200,000 truckers on the roads today driving under the influence of  alcohol and drugs, and heavy medication for serious conditions and diseases. Many of these truckers are causing truck accidents — and continue to do s o—  because their employing trucking companies turn a blind eye while they flee as the investigation ensues, only for them to return clean and sober.

And even before drug addicted truck drivers cause crashes, their employers make it possible for them to ace drug tests, by giving them notice of the test and time for them to clean up their acts. Note: urine tests are easier to pass than hair tests.

Well now it appears a few trucking companies are starting to do the right thing. I read an interesting article from the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Hair test help trucking firm keep drug users off the road.

According to the story, throughout the last four years, about 38,000 would-be truck drivers applying at Schneider National Inc. have had their hair snipped for a drug test:

“Of those, 1,411 failed. The analysis detected cocaine, marijuana or other banned substances. Yet more than 90% of those 1,411 applicants were able to pass a urine test — the government-mandated, industry standard — looking for the same drugs.”

The story says Schneider and a handful of other trucking companies are now adding haircuts to their employee screening process.

A hat tip to these trucking companies, that are truly taking action to keep dangerous truck drivers off the roads, and trying to prevent truck accidents.

Schneider and other truck companies are urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve hair testing and allow test results to be shared with other trucking firms. Our truck lawyers couldn’t agree more.

As of now, hair testing for drugs is not officially recognized.

Hair testing has it limits: It doesn’t detect recent drug use and may show positive results for smoked drugs when someone has merely been in the same room where they were consumed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

But there are great advantages to hair testing: It shows drug use over a much longer period than urine, and it’s more difficult to cheat.

Trucking companies who choose to use hair testing for drug detection are saving lives — and saving themselves money — by preventing crashes at the hands of truckers on drugs.

This is the way to do it.

Related information:

Regulations of a self-regulated trucking industry

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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