Young & McCarthy LLP

Hair analysis may help detect drug-using truck drivers

In Ohio and across the U.S., many commercial truckers are driving while under the influence of drugs, especially cocaine, opioids and marijuana. The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on drug tests results in the trucking industry and found that the mandatory urinanalysis is not enough to detect drug use. In fact, it captures only 1 in 10 habitual drug users.

The Alliance study illustrates the need for hair analysis as a second mandatory drug test. It states with a 99% confidence level that there are at least 301,000 truck drivers on the road today who would either fail the hair analysis or refuse to undergo it in the first place. The testing could drastically reduce drugged driving.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is, according to experts, willing to update its requirements to include hair testing, but the Department of Health and Human Services has been stalling in setting up hair test guidelines. Such guidelines were mandated by the 2015 FAST Act.

With the U.S. DoT unable to act, employers cannot submit hair test failures to the DoT's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Without an area for hair tests, those who fail them may be hired unsuspectingly by companies that do not perform them. Still, many employers do require them.

Truck fleet owners may be held responsible if one of their employees causes a truck accident through the use of drugs or abuse of alcohol. A truck accident claim can be complicated, so those who are injured by the impaired driver may want to retain legal counsel. The lawyer may have investigators obtain proof of negligence, including drug test records and, if applicable, in-cab camera footage.

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