FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 31, 2013
Crawford, Pryor Introduce Drug-Free Commercial Truck Driver Legislation
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) and U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) were joined by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Congressman Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), Tim Griffin (R-Arkansas) and Reid Ribble (R-WI) in introducing federal legislation today to enable trucking companies to more effectively prevent lifestyle drug users from gaining employment as commercial truck drivers.
"We applaud this bipartisan effort of our Arkansas congressional delegation and Congressman Reid Ribble from Wisconsin for introducing legislation that will help keep drug users out of our freight trucks and off our nation's highways," said Lane Kidd, Senior Manager of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (The Trucking Alliance) and President of the Arkansas Trucking Association, Inc.
Companion bills introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to recognize hair testing as an optional method to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing requirements for commercial truck drivers.
Under current federal regulations,only a urinalysis is recognized by the HHS for mandatory pre-employment drug and alcohol exams of truck driver applicants. However, the number of truck driver applicants who pass a pre-employment urine test, but fail a subsequent hair test is alarmingly high.
For that reason, many trucking companies have turned to hair testing, which is more expensive, but is more effective in identifying drug users who apply for jobs as truck drivers.
"Passing this much needed legislation will give trucking companies the option of conducting either a urinalysis or a hair test or both methods and will also allow positive hair tests to be reported to the soon to be created national drug and alcohol clearinghouse that Congress adopted last year," said Gary Salisbury, a member of the Trucking Alliance board of directors and the current chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association.
Congress mandated the creation of a drug and alcohol clearinghouse last year and the Department of Transportation is expected to have the clearinghouse operational by next year. This database will identify any person who has previously tested positive on a pre-employment drug exam required by the federal government before being employed as a truck driver. However, unless HHS recognizes hair testing as an approved methodology, no positive hair test results can be submitted to the national clearinghouse database. The legislation introduced today will enable those drug test results to be reported to the clearinghouse.
"As a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I take the safety of our roads and highways very seriously," said Congressman Rick Crawford. "My bill establishes hair testing guidelines that will help trucking companies identify drug-abusing drivers. More importantly, this bill will allow trucking companies to submit positive hair test results to the national drug and alcohol database to ensure that we keep drug offenders out from behind the wheel of commercial trucks and off our nation's roads. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to give this bill a speedy hearing and send it to the floor for consideration as soon as possible."
"With millions of private-sector jobs and businesses relying on the trucking industry, I'm working every day to find new ideas to strengthen this economic powerhouse," Senator Pryor said. "By allowing companies to eliminate duplicative processes, this bill will ensure our businesses have the certainty they need to invest, expand, and create jobs while securing the safety of our highways for all motorists."
For further information contact:
Lane Kidd, Senior Manager (501) 940-5191 firstname.lastname@example.org