I have multiple posts on the use of illegal, Over-The-Counter, and legal drug use by drivers and with any luck something will be done about this clear danger. In the past I have been told "we have testing for that" even though it was well known the testing was ineffective. The facts which were apparent to anyone who has experience in tractor trailer litigation was brought to Congress’ attention recently. The Government Accountability Office told Congress that the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing program for truck drivers is unreliable and riddled with problems.
“Our testing clearly shows that the drug user could easily beat the DOT drug test, even if the collection sites followed all of the DOT protocols,” said Gregory Kutz, managing director of forensic audits for the Government Accountability Office. “The test can be beat using counterfeit documents, synthetic urine or adulterants.”
Another GAO official, Katherine Siggerud, told the House Transportation Committee’s highways subcommittee on Nov. 1, “There appears to be a significant lack of compliance [with drug and alcohol rules] among motor carriers, particularly small carriers and self-employed drivers.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the highways subcommittee, called the Nov. 1 testimony “absolutely devastating,” saying the investigations showed that “in the United States, we have no meaningful program of drug testing for commercial truck drivers. None.”
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, agreed, saying, “To find that [our drug-testing program] falls so grossly short, as you put it, is shocking.”
GAO looked at the way test protocols were handled and, Kutz said, “with respect to protocols, 22 of the 24 sites that we visited failed at least two of the 16 DOT protocols we tested for.”
Siggerud’s report said, “Products designed to ‘beat’ the test are marketed brazenly on the Internet,” making samples unreliable, even when a carrier has a testing program in place.
She said another problem was that job-hopping after a positive drug test “appears to be quite common.”
Oberstar criticized the practice of marketing and selling masking agents or synthetic samples.
“There’s no other beneficial use for those products — they ought to be banned,” he said. “I hope the outcome of this hearing is legislation to do exactly that.”
Oberstar said the current system of relying on drivers to self-report positive drug tests to employers, and past employers to provide information to prospective ones was not good enough because it allowed drivers to “jump from job to job to job and leave their drug history behind.”
Rick Craig, director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the driver group was “unconvinced of the need for a national clearing-house for positive drug and alcohol test results,” citing privacy and other concerns.
See: DOT Drug tests Faulty, GAO Tells House Panel, by Sean McNally in Transportation Topics Nov 12, 2007, Page 1 and 43.