Will This New DOT Policy Curb Drug Test Cheaters?

The U.S. Department of Transportation is en route to make an important change that could influence workers who use cannabis. The department recently proposed a new rule that gives employers the choice to include oral cannabis tests for their employees. While a drug test is still a drug test, there are a variety of benefits associated with these, especially when compared to urinalyses.

The transportation industry might be among the few industries where a cannabis drug test is actually useful, judging whether or not a worker is equipped to drive. Still, the use of urinalysis is invasive and doesn’t provide an answer on whether or not a person is intoxicated with cannabis; it only shows if the person consumed cannabis at some point in the past month. An oral saliva exam could provide a more accurate reading, showing if the person consumed THC at some point in the past 24 hours.

RELATED: Which Industries Most Often Test Workers For Cannabis?

These Drivers Test Positive For Marijuana More Than Any Other Substance
Photo by SOCMIA Fotografía via Unsplash

Aside from all of this, oral tests are less likely to result in cheating, since they’re usually provided on the spot. “This will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program,” reports the notice.

According to a new labor report conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the transportation and warehousing industries lead in terms of requiring drug tests from their employees. While jobs have become more lenient as cannabis earns its legal status in a variety of states, drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) can face serious penalties if failing a drug test, being stripped of their work, and facing suspensions.

RELATED: These Drivers Test Positive For Marijuana More Than Any Other Substance

There’s yet to be a test that measures whether or not someone is currently intoxicated with cannabis, but a saliva test is the closest thing there is. According to an ongoing study, researchers discovered a way of measuring whether someone is currently intoxicated with cannabis or not, using a technique called functional near-infrared spectroscopy that measures brain patterns. If the research were to be successful, this tool could be used in a variety of situations, whether measuring intoxication in commercial drivers, or as a tool for law enforcers.

The public has until March 30 to submit comments and propose additions to this new policy.

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