The American Trucking Associations is again calling on Congress to help the trucking industry keep drug and alcohol abusers off the road and improve safety on the nation’s highways by supporting efforts to enhance drug and alcohol testing for the nation’s 3.4 million truck drivers.
“Trucking has worked diligently to eradicate drug and alcohol abuse from its work force. And we’ve made great progress in recent years,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “But we are requesting additional help from the government since it is a federally-required program involving significant federal oversight. Today’s release of a Government Accountability Office report confirms the need for what ATA has been recommending for many years—a national database of drug and alcohol test results.”
ATA is urging Congress to take swift action to authorize and fund a national database of drug and alcohol testing results of commercial drivers to make a good testing program even better.
Also, consistent with GAO’s recommendations, ATA is asking Congress to ban the manufacture, sale and distribution of products that help some drivers evade drug tests; provide for penalties for those who use them; and provide the US Department of Transportation with additional authority to improve oversight of specimen collection facilities and practices.
To further improve the drug testing process, ATA also is urging Congress to direct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the US DOT to initiate a rulemaking that allows the testing of alternative specimens such as hair. Hair testing allows illegal drug use to be detected for a longer period of time.
ATA is also calling on the US DOT to issue a new regulation creating a tougher audit process and enhanced penalties for new carriers entering the trucking business.
While ATA and the trucking industry do not condone any level of drug abuse among the driver population, the latest percentage as reported by US DOT is under 2 percent. According to government reports, drug abuse in the trucking industry, as measured by a percentage of positive test results, is less than half of that found in the general work force.