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Trucking industry may benefit from stricter drug testing

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on the pre-employment drug tests of commercial truck drivers in California and the rest of the U.S., finding that many truckers who are habitual drug users are being accepted. This data is based on a survey of 3.5 million CMV drivers. In all, 301,000 truck drivers on the road today would fail if subjected to a hair analysis.

Another problem is that employers cannot submit hair test failures to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database said to go into effect in 2020. Employers, then, will have no way of knowing that a potential employee has failed previous tests. The reason is that the DoT only recognizes urine analyses. The Department of Health and Human Services has yet to produce guidelines for hair analyses.

Employers are free to require a second drug test besides the urine analysis, but many in the trucking industry are beginning to see hair analyses as something essential rather than optional. In fact, the Alliance survey found that urine analyses by themselves fail to catch 9 out of 10 drug users.

Cocaine, opioids and marijuana are the three most prevalent drugs among truckers. Drugged driving is likely partly behind the rise in trucking accidents.

Sometimes, though, drug users may slip by because of trucking company negligence. Whoever is to blame, though, an accident with a commercial truck can lead to serious injuries. Those who have been harmed through no fault of their own are entitled to compensation, so they may want to see a lawyer about filing a claim. This means gathering evidence against the driver, the trucking company, or another responsible party.

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