C.R. England wants some of your hair. No, the Salt Lake City-based truckload carrier isn't staging a production of the 1960s rock musical. The company now requires a hair sample from job applicants as part of its pre-employment screening.
Testing hair for drug residue is more effective than the federally mandated urine testing because it covers a longer screening period, said Dustin England, the carrier's vice president of safety and compliance, in a statement. "With hair testing, we are able to detect months of time rather than the handful of days checked with standard urine tests. We found our hair testing positive rate was over three times higher than the required DOT urine test alone."
Working with Omega Laboratories Inc., England conducted both types of tests on applicants over the course of a year. During the trial, more than 11 percent of job candidates tested positive for drug use with hair testing, compared with 2.8 percent with the standard urine testing mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The carrier will continue to conduct urine drug testing as required by law.
The new test will allow the company to keep more potentially dangerous drivers off the road, England said. "That is why we are now firm believers in the benefits of hair testing for the transportation industry."