May 14, 2013 3:30 PM, EDT

ATA Urges DOT to Allow Hair Drug Testing

Praises NTSB’s Recommendation on Drunk Driving

American Trucking Associations said it has urged Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to allow carriers to collect hair samples for drug testing.

The group also praised Tuesday’s National Transportation Safety Board recommendation to reduce the legal limit for drunk driving to a blood-alcohol content of 0.05%, from the current 0.08%.

“The trucking industry is held, and holds itself, to a higher standard and we are encouraged by NTSB’s recommendations to bolster efforts to reduce drunk and drugged driving for all motorists,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.

The association said it sent a letter to LaHood pushing for hair testing rather than the currently mandated urine-testing process.

ATA backed a House bill introduced last year that would have created a pilot program to test truck drivers’ hair strands for evidence of illegal drug use.

“ATA knows for a fact that thousands of truck drivers who have failed hair tests . . . have obtained driving positions with other carriers because they were able to pass DOT-authorized urine tests,” Graves wrote.

“All we are asking is for DOT to allow this industry to use the best available tools under the DOT-mandated drug and alcohol testing program to make sure our roads are safe for all motorists,” the letter said.