Overdrive Magazine

July 2019

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18 | Overdrive | July 2019 Trucking Alliance questions drug testing efficacy The Trucking Alliance, a coalition of some of the country's largest trucking companies, last month again called for stricter drug testing for driving applicants as well as a mandate for speed limiters in heavy trucks and a prohibition on under-21 drivers operating interstate. The Alliance said that urine tests, required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for driver applicants, fail to screen applicants properly for drug use. The group's written com- ments were filed to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as it began preliminary work on the next federal highway bill. The Alliance presented results from testing of 151,662 driver appli- cants. Whereas 949 of them failed a urine sample drug test, hair sample tests yielded positive tests for 8,878 applicants, the group said. "The survey results are compel- ling evidence that thousands of habitual drug users are skirting a system designed to prohibit drug use in transportation," the Alliance contends. The group said the results imply that about 300,000 drivers industry- wide would have failed a hair sample drug test. The Alliance includes J.B. Hunt, Knight, Swift, U.S. Xpress and other large fleets. The group has pressed for stricter drug testing protocol for drivers, including calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – and subsequently, DOT – to comply with a congressional statute in the 2015 FAST Act that requires DOT to accept hair sample tests as a recognized drug screening method. Currently, DOT accepts only urine analysis. Carriers are free to perform both tests, though it's often costly and inefficient. Congress said HHS must develop guidelines for hair testing protocol before DOT can recognize the tests. HHS still has not complied with that statute. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee representa- tives last month also heard testimony from trucking industry trade groups including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations, as well as enforcement groups and safety advocates. The current highway law, the FAST Act, expires at the end of next year. The Alliance was not one of the groups present at the hearing. In addition to pressing for drug testing changes, the Alliance also advocated in writing for the revival of the speed limiter mandate rule- making (the Alliance wants a cap of 65 mph), ending the electronic logging device exemption granted to livestock haulers and maintaining the prohibition on drivers under age 21 from operating interstate. — James Jaillet The Trucking Alliance says that urine sample drug tests miss nearly nine out of 10 drug users. Alabama is the latest state to pass legislation requir- ing its trucking schools to include curriculum to train drivers on how to recognize, report and prevent human trafficking. The bill passed by the Alabama Legislature May 31 applies to all truck driving schools. If Gov. Kay Ivey signs the legislation, which would be effective Jan. 1, 2020, Alabama will be the 11th state to require human trafficking training for upcoming com- mercial driver's license holders. More than 10,000 Alabama-based drivers already have gone through the online training provided by Truckers Against Trafficking, said Ford Boswell of the Alabama Trucking Association. — Matt Cole Another state adds human trafficking to CDL curriculum Brake Safety Week The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week, Sept. 15-22, will focus on brake hoses and tubing. During last year's event, law enforcement con- ducted more than 35,000 inspections and placed nearly 5,000 trucks or drivers out of service. Bruce W. Smith

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