We are all aware of the commercial driver shortage in the United States. The trucking industry is primarily composed of people aged 45 and older.1 In order to compensate for the shortage, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a pilot program to lower the required CDL age from 21 to 18.2 Currently, there are 48 states that allow drivers to obtain a CDL at the age of 18, but federal regulations prevent them from crossing state lines until 21.3
Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration advised the industry that a proposal, which would acknowledge hair testing as an acceptable form for a carrier to drug test its employees, would likely be released by year’s end or early 2018. But given that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was required to issue guidelines for hair testing by Dec. 4th, 2016 (a year after the FAST Act highway bill was passed), U.S. senators sent a letter last week to HHS asking to speed up the process.1 Until this is done, only the conduction of a urinalysis is recognized as a proper form of drug screening. The problem with this method is that a urinalysis only uncovers traces in the system within the past two or three days. Therefore, many carriers also require their employees to undergo hair testing as well, which provides detection as far back as 60-90 days, preventing employees that know they will be tested, the ability to refrain from usage a few days prior to the test to receive a negative result.2 The American Trucking Associations continues to back hair testing as a proper way to drug test.