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“The drug laboratories that do hair testing have been trying to be included in the federal testing program for 20 years and the scientists at NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health] say ‘no’ because they know that hair testing doesn’t work.” --Lewis Maltby
A diverse group of organizations, including the ACLU, Teamsters and United Steelworkers, have written a letter to members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure opposing the inclusion of hair testing in any surface transportation bill.
In the letter, the group of 17 note that Congress is obligated, under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, to require the Dept. of Transportation to follow drug and alcohol testing protocols adopted by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“For decades, DOT has complied with this process, following the lead of HHS and incorporating its guidelines into the transportation testing requirements at 49 CFR Part 40. These DOT and HHS testing procedures have proven effective at identifying users of controlled substances and have enhanced the safety of both the truck and bus industry and the broader transportation system,” the letter states.
The letter, authored by the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), was sent to Bill Shuster, chairman; Peter DeFazio, ranking democrat; Sam Graves, chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee; and Eleanor Holmes Norton, ranking democrat on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee.
The Senate’s version of a highway bill, which was not passed as Congress, included a provision that would allow hair testing for pre-employment and random screening for commercial drivers.
“The Senate has undermined the expertise of scientists and potentially jeopardized the jobs of thousands of bus and truck drivers with this unproven testing method,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “We urge the House to reject the Senate’s hair testing provision and ensure that federal drug tests are backed by scientific and forensically sound evidence. Nothing less should be acceptable.”
According to the group, HHS has not made a final determination on whether hair testing is a valid approach to drug and alcohol screening.