Drug testing change in US could shrink driver pool by 15%

New York, US: The head of the National Transportation Institute (NTI) has warned that switching to hair follicle testing to screen drivers for drugs could eliminate otherwise attractive job applicants and reduce the driver pool by up to 15%.

Gordon Klemp, president of the NTI, said several carriers who had introduced hair follicle tests found that more than 10% of otherwise attractive applicants flunked the test even if they passed the standard urine-based screen.

The move comes as the trucking industry struggles with a lack of qualified drivers, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast.

However, transport company CR England, which demands a hair sample from job applicant as part of its pre-employment screening process, supports hair testing for drug use. Dustin England, vice president of safety and compliance, says: “We found our hair testing positive rate was over three times higher than the required urine test alone.

The result, England said, is that the company will be able to keep more potentially dangerous drivers off the roads. “That is why we are now firm believers in the benefits of hair testing for the transportation industry.”