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July 06, 2019

Drug Testing For American Truck Drivers is Inadequate

There were more than 415,000 large truck accidents in 2017 that killed 4,761 people, including more than 600 truck drivers.

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires drug and alcohol testing of truck drivers.  The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) administers the 1991 law. USDOT currently recognizes one drug test method – a urinalysis.

The Trucking Alliance recently submitted data to USDOT, showing compelling evidence that thousands of habitual drug users are skirting federal drug test protocols and obtaining jobs as commercial truck drivers.

Survey data from the Trucking Alliance was compiled which shows the pre-employment drug test results of 151,662 truck driver applicants, who were asked to submit to two drug tests – a urinalysis and a hair analysis. Nearly every applicant held an active commercial driver license. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the truck driver applicants tested drug-free. However, thousands of applicants failed either or both drug tests.

Notably, the urinalysis, the only method recognized by USDOT, and relied on by almost all trucking company employers, actually failed to identify most drug abusers. The urinalysis detected drugs in 949 applicants, about 1% of the population. However, 8.6%, or 8,878 truck driver applicants, either failed or refused the hair test. Put into context, the urinalysis missed 9 out of 10 actual illicit drug users.

According to the American Trucking Associations, there are 3.5 million commercial truck drivers. The survey can project with a 99% confidence level that 301,000 commercial truck drivers would fail or refuse a hair analysis today, for illegal drug use.

The survey results are compelling evidence that thousands of habitual drug users are skirting a system designed to prohibit drug use in transportation. Thousands of drug abusers are obtaining jobs as truck drivers and on our roads, despite their drug use.

Drug use in the trucking industry is a public safety crisis. If you or a loved one have been hurt by a truck driver we are available to help on your terms.

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