Trucking company using hair to drug test

July 30, 2012 at 4:53 PM
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GREEN BAY, Wis., July 30 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin trucking company is seeking to have the federal government require testing potential drivers' hair for drugs, officials said.

Schneider National Inc. of Green Bay has been testing people applying to be truck drivers' hair for drugs for the past four year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Other trucking firms, such as Roehl Transport of Marshfield, also have added follicle drug tests to their screening processes as well.

Officials from Schneider said since the company began testing hair for cocaine, marijuana and other banned substances, 1,411 of 38,000 would-be truck drivers failed the test. However, more than 90 percent of those 1,411 applicants passed a urine drug test, which is required by federal law.

Testing an applicant's hair can detect drug usage over longer time periods than urine tests, the report said. Whereas molecules of methamphetamine, tetrahydrocannabinol and other drugs remain in urine for only a few days, they can be found in hair for months.

"The urine-based drug test is simply not catching chronic drug users," said Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety and security at Schneider.

John Spiros, vice president of safety and claims management at Roehl, said his company began testing hair a year ago.

"It's a deterrent," Spiros said. "When people know that you're doing hair-follicle testing, a lot of them won't even apply."

Now, Schneider is seeking to get the U.S. Department of Transportation to sanction hair testing and allow test results to be shared with other trucking firms.

"That's one of the areas that need to be fixed," Osterberg said.

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