Amid a national crisis of opiate drug addiction, the trucking industry is still waiting for the U.S. Department of Transportation to strengthen its commercial drug testing policies.
For now, it’s up to trucking companies to regulate opiate abuse among their drivers. But without a federal law, positive results for certain opiates are not shared with other commercial transportation companies.
The Department of Health and Human Services amended its list of banned drugs for employees to include the four most abused opiates — oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone and hydrocodone. The transportation department has said it will adopt the Health and Human Services policy.
In proposed budgets, lawmakers have said Department of Transportation funding will include appropriations for a national clearinghouse to include the results of hair tests on truck drivers, so companies can share the results throughout the industry.
Both chambers of Congress must agree on a budget to be approved by President Donald Trump, who has promised on the campaign trail more infrastructure investment and fewer industry regulations.
“We want to make sure drivers who are coming into our fleets are not using these drugs,” said Abigail Potter, manager of safety and occupational health for the American Trucking Associations , which supports both hair testing and the prohibition of the four major opiates.
Department of Transportation data show positive drug test results rose from 2015 to 2016. The results do not include the four most widely abused opiates.
For now, drivers will continue giving urine samples. Companies such as J.B. Hunt Transportation Services and Maverick USA require urine and hair tests. Wal-Mart declined to comment on its drug testing policy for its fleet of drivers.
“It is imperative to recognize hair testing as a viable option in assessing commercial truck driver job applicants,” Maverick company officials wrote in an email.