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senate Bill S. 806

Allowing Trucking Companies to Use Hair Testing for Drug Screens

Argument in favor

Hair testing is more effective than urinalysis because of its longer detection period, and allowing trucking companies to widely adopt it as a testing method would make the roads safer.

BrianDeanMSF's Opinion
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09/10/2015
There is no reason to keep drug checks from being more thorough, especially when dealing with truck drivers. I disagree that this type of testing is "invasive".
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DCPolitical's Opinion
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06/18/2015
It stays in your hair longer, if they are drug testing, this is far more accurate and will expand the time slot greatly.
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Matt's Opinion
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09/03/2015
I'm all for individual liberty, but the DOT should hair test.
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Argument opposed

While it may be more effective, hair testing is also more intrusive than urinalysis and doesn’t take into account recent lifestyle changes that the subject of the test has made. And no test is foolproof, so there will still be errors.

Ben's Opinion
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09/04/2015
This bill is well-intentioned, but unfocused. Truck drivers do not use drugs at a higher rate than any other profession. If we are worried about drivers putting other people in danger, focus on regulating driver fatigue, which causes more accidents.
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Greg's Opinion
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09/03/2015
4th amendment violations and the failed drug war must end.
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Nikki's Opinion
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09/03/2015
Employers and the government are too intrusive. What an individual does on their own time is their business. As long as it doesn't affect safety, it is not the employers business
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedMarch 19th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 806?

This bill would revise regulations that require motor carriers (i.e. trucking companies) to conduct testing for controlled substances or alcohol use by motor vehicle operators during pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, and post-accident screenings.


Motor carriers would be allowed to use hair testing as an acceptable alternative to urinalysis for detecting use of controlled substances by individuals, but only for pre-employment and random testing. Under current law, urinalysis is the only testing method available to be used in the commercial trucking industry.

The Secretary of Transportation would be required to develop requirements for laboratories and testing procedures for controlled substances, including mandatory guidelines that establish laboratory protocols and cut-off levels for hair testing to detect the use of such substances.

If a motor carrier shows that it can carry out a hair testing program that is consistent with generally accepted industry standards, it would be allowed to apply to the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for exemption from mandatory urinalysis testing. The Administrator would need to determine if the applicant’s program is similar to those used by motor carriers who have had similar programs for at least one year.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be directed to issue scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing as a method for detecting the use of controlled substances.

Impact

Employees of motor carriers, motor carriers, the HHS Secretary, the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 806

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: This bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), believes its passage would aid in “preventing drug-users from operating trucks,” which in turn will improve road safety. He also noted that the existing testing regime is “duplicative,” as trucking companies would have to pay for two tests if they chose to use hair testing because urinalysis is mandatory regardless of other tests to be carried out.

During the 113th Congress, versions of this legislation were introduced in the House and Senate, but neither advanced out of their respective committees.


Of Note:

The primary advantage of hair testing is that it has a longer detection window than other methods of drug and alcohol screening, plus it is also easier to store, is more stable, and is easy to administer. But hair tests are typically expensive, and cannot detect alcohol use at all, nor can they detect drug use within the week prior to the test.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Kolin Toney)

AKA

Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend section 31306 of title 49, United States Code, to recognize hair as an alternative specimen for preemployment and random controlled substances testing of commercial motor vehicle drivers and for other purposes.

    There is no reason to keep drug checks from being more thorough, especially when dealing with truck drivers. I disagree that this type of testing is "invasive".
    Like (6)
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    This bill is well-intentioned, but unfocused. Truck drivers do not use drugs at a higher rate than any other profession. If we are worried about drivers putting other people in danger, focus on regulating driver fatigue, which causes more accidents.
    Like (59)
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    4th amendment violations and the failed drug war must end.
    Like (22)
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    Employers and the government are too intrusive. What an individual does on their own time is their business. As long as it doesn't affect safety, it is not the employers business
    Like (14)
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    This is a corporate invasion of privacy. What is in hair is for all means and purposes not in your system anymore and not going to affect your performance as a trucker.
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    A urinalysis is plenty effective. You run the risk of, someone that has cleaned themselves up, not getting a job because a mistake of their recent past. In addition, people should not be penalized for things they do on their time. Their use of anything outside of work is none of anyone's concern if it does not directly effect their work. Someone who had a fight with their spouse is more of a danger, because they are distracted, than someone who smoked cannabis before bed.
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    If a driver gets into an accident in June, he should not be held more accountable because of a positive test resulting from him smoking for a few days in April. The period is too long, and will lead to scapegoating.
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    Testing someone for drugs by taking their hair or bodily fluids is wrong and should only be done when the person is suspected of having a drug problem. This is one of the most ridiculous aspects of the drug war in my eyes, and I believe we should abolish drug testing unless it is absolutely necessary. It is crazy that many employers require a drug test before they hire someone. If the person was doing drugs to the point where it was affecting their life it should be visible to the employer if they have any common sense.
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    Unfair to people that live in states where certain drugs are legal. What they do in their time is their business and if it doesn't affect work performance why test for it?
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    Where does it stop
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    Truck drivers have it tough enough.
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    It stays in your hair longer, if they are drug testing, this is far more accurate and will expand the time slot greatly.
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    Who cares what type of test they use? If the test is accurate it shouldn't matter if it is hair, blood, urine, salvia, or whatever else
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    I'm all for individual liberty, but the DOT should hair test.
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    I could go either way on this topic but I believe in protecting our rights and less regulations.
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    It's none of the companies business what in my hair or pee! Free country indeed! Get out of our private lives!
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    Drug testing is an invasion of privacy. If they don't want truckers to be high while driving, a hair test is overkill.
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    It makes sense to use the most accurate form of testing. Do police officers and government officials take the same test?
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    What a person does in their own time is none of anybody's business. Particularly if one uses marijuana medicinally, is should not be a factor in weather or not you get or maintain a job you are qualified and trained to do.
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    While I believe marijuana should be legalized, i think any company should be able to screen any of their employees, so long as such screenings are agreed on in contract with the employee. If the employee doesn't want to be screened, they should work somewhere that doesn't screen their employees.
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