Bill Calls for Hair Testing for Drug Use; DOT Warns Marijuana Remains Illegal

A House bill introduced Wednesday would create a pilot program to test truck drivers’ hair strands for evidence of illegal drug use.

American Trucking Associations applauded the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.).

The bill is not expected to pass in the current lame duck session of Congress but will be reintroduced in the new session that starts in January, said Ashley Olson, Ribble’s press secretary.

“For many years, ATA has supported improving drug and alcohol testing procedures for commercial drivers,” ATA President Bill Graves said. “Hair testing, which research and experience shows can be much more effective than current, conventional sampling and testing methods, is the next logical step in this process.”

Separately, the Department of Transportation reminded truckers and other transportation workers this week that “recreational” use of marijuana remains illegal, despite initiatives approved by voters in Colorado and Washington state that make use of the drug legal there. Washington’s law took effect Thursday.

“It is important to note that marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act,” Jim Swart, director of DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, said in a statement.

“It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation drug-testing regulation to use marijuana,” the statement said.