Truck accidents are among the most devastating wrecks, often resulting in massive property damage and severe and fatal injuries. However, when it comes to testing truck drivers for drugs and alcohol, experts do not always agree over what methods are the most effective. For years, the traditional urine test was the standard for drug and alcohol testing. More recently, officials in the trucking industry have become more interested in hair follicle testing over urine testing.
The controversy surrounding drug testing stems from the fact that experts cannot agree on which method is more effective, as well as the fact that there are privacy issues involved. However, experts believe it is a debate worth having, and one that must be resolved.
Pros of Hair Follicle Testing
Earlier this year, six truck carriers requested that the Ford Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allow them to implement hair follicle testing for their employees. An article found on Trucks.com stated that under the FMCSA’s federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol screenings, truck drivers are required to undergo mandatory urine testing. However, the six carriers wanted to switch to hair follicle testing after finding research that suggests it provides more accurate results than urine tests. According to research, hair follicle testing can detect drugs or alcohol in the system within a few hours, as opposed to the urine test which is only effective at detecting substances consumed within a few days before the test.
Drivers who fail the hair follicle test can go on to apply to another truck company and pass a urine test. This creates a potential hazard to other motorists on the road if truck drivers who fail the hair follicle test are then hired by other companies who strictly use urine tests.
Questioning the Reliability of Hair Follicle Testing
Critics of hair follicle testing point to an article on Bloomberg BNA that suggests there is little evidence that this method is more accurate than a urinalysis. The article also states that hair samples can test positive for drugs that the individual was exposed to, but did not consume. In addition, a federal appeals court found testing methods to be unreliable, arguing that it can result in a racial bias that darker, more porous hair retains drugs at a greater rate.
Cost is another factor as hair follicle testing is twice as expensive as urine testing and smaller trucking companies may not be able to afford the test. As a result, they could be pegged as being less safe than the larger truck companies that can afford to implement hair follicle testing.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured in Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a truck accident involving a truck driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, our Baltimore truck accident lawyers are on your side. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and secure the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation, call LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.