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Trucking Company Performing Extensive Drug Tests on Applicants

When the number of deaths caused in trucking accidents began to stay consistent, officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) knew that they had to be more proactive. The agency performed an in-depth review of the safety procedures currently in place to examine where any deficiencies in the process may exist.

To improve motorist safety, the FMSCA released a comprehensive overhaul of the regulations in effect for those in the trucking industry. Both drivers and trucking companies would be held more accountable for any trucking accidents or other safety violations that occurred. Repeat violations could force companies out-of-service.

Some trucking companies have decided to implement their own procedures that are designed to reduce the amount of potential problems. One of the major concerns for both officials and employers is the use of alcohol or drugs by truck drivers.

Drivers under the influence may have reduced reaction times, which can place themselves and other motorists at risk. To help ensure that its drivers are safe, one trucking company has started doing more extensive drug tests of its applicants.

Whenever an applicant wishes to work for this company, the individual is subjected to a hair drug test. Hair tests are thought to be much more effective than just urine tests. For example, since 2008, nearly 38,000 applicants underwent hair tests. Over 1,400 potential drivers failed this test. Of those 1,400, more than 90 percent would have passed a urine test.

The company hopes that other employers will follow suit, but it might be difficult to get others to do this testing voluntarily. The trucking industry is struggling to find drivers who are qualified to be on the road, and doing the minimum urine testing may be enough to satisfy most employers. However, if a company hires a driver who causes an accident because of drug or alcohol use, they may still find themselves subject to damages because of the crash.

Source: JSOnline "Hair tests help trucking firm keep drug users off road" Rick Romell, July 29, 2012.

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