Paper Transport Inc: Hair Follicle Test (a Few Questions)

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Chris P.'s Comment
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Steve,

I thought most companies didn't allow alcohol in their trucks - I may not like it, but I've already accepted that. It does make some sense in some ways. That said, I'm not aware of any companies doing hair follicle tests for alcohol. If I was, I'd be calling them out for being dumb too. Someone that tried pot in a legal state, months before they even thought of becoming a truck driver, is not any more dangerous on the road because of it. Yet, for some perverse reason, it may matter more than a poor driving record to these companies. I tried pot around 8 months ago, and my driving record is clean as can be. I haven't gotten a single ticket in the 20 years I've been driving. To think something so frivolous can have such a dramatic impact on my ability to get hired. It's inane. ): Heck, Elon Musk tried pot on video.

Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Kerry,

To people in states that have legalized smoking pot, it's no different than drinking alcohol to us. We don't think of it as a big deal that some company is going to get on our case for it because we smoked it months ago. I think it's really dumb, infact, and I don't even like weed. Definitely don't smoke it and then drive, but to use it responsibly? Sure, why not?

Also, nice pun.

double-quotes-end.png

Even drinking alcohol IS a big deal to some companies. My first company told us (Orientation day 1) if you get caught drinking in the hotel bar OR with alcohol in your hotel room, you’ll be gone. And a few days later, some were. My current company says no alcohol in the truck, INCLUDING inside your body.

Please understand, these companies are putting us in control of hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars worth of equipment and freight. They’re unleashing us onto public roadways where many people consider driving secondary to watching videos on their phones and texting.

When you write the checks, hire the lawyers to defend your company against negligence charges or face the families of people your employees killed, you get to make the rules.

Something needs to be pointed out here:

Having any alcohol, even in a sealed container, is a violation of federal law. Having even a trace of alcohol (.02% BAC) will result in automatically being put out-of-service , by federal law. These are important distinctions because violations of carrier policy can result in a driver losing his/her job, whereas violations of federal law concerning the operation of a CMV can result of in a driver losing his/her freedom.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Out-of-Service:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Shaun K.'s Comment
member avatar

I find the hair follicle testing frustrating. It punishes people that have cleaned themselves up, quit using drugs, and are trying to become employed. I smoked pot 8 months ago, and I didn't even like it. Now I have to wait a year to get tested. Further, hair follicle testing is known to have false positives, which means people are getting screwed over that were clean to start with. It's also known for plenty of false negatives, which Jamie should be hoping for.

Why would you need to wait longer than 6 months? Hair testing goes back 6 months and you can just shave your body/head and get tested 3 months later (hair is usually long enough). Another point, they can also take finger nail samples at well.

Jeb H.'s Comment
member avatar

Urine, Hair, and fingernails? What's next, browser history? I once watched a Cheech and Chong movie on Netflix. Am I screwed?

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Why would you need to wait longer than 6 months? Hair testing goes back 6 months and you can just shave your body/head and get tested 3 months later (hair is usually long enough). Another point, they can also take finger nail samples at well.

Welcome to our forum Shaun!

Here's the problem with your advice above. We've been helping new drivers for years in here, and one of the most heartbreaking scenarios we come across is this problem of failing a hair test. There is a lot of misinformation out here and you have just given some of it that you heard somewhere and considered it accurate. Yes, it is true that a hair test is deigned to go back six months. But wait a minute...there are a few caveats to this.

We have seen people in our forum crying for help because they had been clean for nine months or more and still they failed a hair test. How did this happen? This is something that has to be taken seriously because it will kill your career before you even get it started. We all metabolize things in our bodies differently. Some of us have a faster rate of metabolism than others. A heavy user of marijuana my possibly take longer than a light user to be clean enough for a hair test. A person who is over weight will typically take longer to be able to pass a test. There are a lot of variables to this. There is no hard fast number that you can rely on. People love to pull up that six months number and quote it as if it were a magical limit, and you have even decided you know how to cut it to three months by shaving your hair.

All I know is that I have continually seen a lot of heartbroken people in here seeking advice after they failed a hair test. Most of them have taken advice like yours that they found on the internet and it let them down very hard. People don't like it one bit when I advise them to be clean for one year before taking the risk of failing a hair test, but it is the only way I have seen to be 100% effective to get your foot in the door. We teach "best practices" here for a reason. That reason would be that we like to see people succeed.

We have a current conversation going on now where a fellow claims he took two private hair tests that came back clean, but when he went to a trucking company for a hair test he failed. It is sad, but it is a reality that we cannot deal with by giving out speculative or false information.

Also, I have never heard of any trucking companies taking finger nail samples. If you can't produce any hair, you are considered a fail. Why else would you go to all the trouble of eliminating all your hair? It is considered a failed pre-employment drug test if you can't produce a sample. It will not go to the clearing house, but it will still follow you around and hinder you.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Steve,

I thought most companies didn't allow alcohol in their trucks - I may not like it, but I've already accepted that. It does make some sense in some ways. That said, I'm not aware of any companies doing hair follicle tests for alcohol. If I was, I'd be calling them out for being dumb too. Someone that tried pot in a legal state, months before they even thought of becoming a truck driver, is not any more dangerous on the road because of it. Yet, for some perverse reason, it may matter more than a poor driving record to these companies. I tried pot around 8 months ago, and my driving record is clean as can be. I haven't gotten a single ticket in the 20 years I've been driving. To think something so frivolous can have such a dramatic impact on my ability to get hired. It's inane. ): Heck, Elon Musk tried pot on video.

You said that to you smoking pot is no different than drinking alcohol. That you don’t see it as a big deal. The implication is that drinking alcohol is no big deal. I was merely trying to point out the drinking alcohol is a big deal to a lot of companies that’s all. Sorry if I misunderstood your implication..

Bird-One's Comment
member avatar

Not sure if his has been mentioned yet but when I took my hair follicle with Schneider I had a shaved head. That was just my hair style at the time. So they took arm pit hair. All worked out.

Chris P.'s Comment
member avatar
Having any alcohol, even in a sealed container, is a violation of federal law.

I was not aware of this. Do you happen to have proof?

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

FMCSA 392.5

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Specifically:

No driver shall;

Be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle while the driver possesses wine of not less than one-half of one per centum of alcohol by volume, beer as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5052(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or distilled spirits as defined in section 5002(a)(8), of such Code. However, this does not apply to possession of wine, beer, or distilled spirits which are:

(i) Manifested and transported as part of a shipment; or

(ii) Possessed or used by bus passengers.

Manifest:

Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
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