Psychemedics + Urine Testing?

More trucking firms are adding Psychemedics to drug testing protocols. Here is why.

In 2005, J.B. Hunt extended their DOT-mandated urine testing program to include a Psychemedics hair test. Their logic was simple. Hunt felt a urine test was too easy to cheat and they needed to tighten their process to ensure the applicants who used drugs didn’t get into their fleet. Today, with litigation a continuing threat, nuclear verdicts a harsh reality, and insurance rates rising, more trucking companies are focused on sustaining drug-free fleets. And although urine testing is still the DOT-mandated standard, its detection shortcomings are well known within trucking management circles. Companies are turning to Psychemedics to identify high risk drivers before an accident happens. In fact, 7 of 10 board member companies for the Trucking Alliance-an industry organization dedicated to driver and roadway safety-have added Psychemedics to urine testing. Beyond that, both the Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Associations call for DOT approval of hair testing as an accepted option.


Four Reasons Leading Trucking Firms Have Adopted Psychemedics.

Nearly Impossible To Evade.

Cheating a urine test is easy, with tactics that are highly effective, broadly known and frequently practiced. Chemical adulteration, sample substitution or short-term abstinence are all tactics that work. With a Psychemedics hair test, the person being tested is never out of sight of the person collecting the sample, so substitution or doctoring is not possible. Beyond this, Psychemedics has a wide window of detection—that “lookback” period where the drugs can be detected —-of 90 days. Unlike a urine test, stopping usage for a few days never evades Psychemedics.

Highest Detection Rate.

Psychemedics is proven in side-by-side tests conducted on over 150,000 drivers to identify 10 drug users for every one that is detected by a urine test. That 10X detection rate advantage lowers hiring risks. Psychemedics’ trucking client results verify it..
KLLM Transport began using Psychemedics for applicant screening in 2018. By mid-2020, Psychemedics had identified 900 drug users that had passed the urine drug screen and would have moved forward in the hiring process. They likely are still on the road and may be driving for you.

Drugs That Are Detected.

Industry data (Chart To Left) validates that urine not only has a significantly lower overall positive rate, but Psychemedics delivers both a higher overall rate and significantly better detection of opioids, cocaine and psychostimulants that represent the highest risk to a trucking firm.

The Deterrent Impact.

As Detection becomes a Certainty, drug users tend to change behaviors or move to companies that only test with urine. That helps avoid investing in undesirable applicants. Great news for those firms; not great for those only testing with urine.

But the biggest benefit may be the halo effect on DOT testing. As J.B. Hunt found, DOT random and postaccident positive rates dropped rapidly and significantly—and stayed low—after implementing Psychemedics testing. Psychemedics’ Deterrent Impact was the driving force. (Chart Below)

Best Test For Business.

Industry data on positive rate comparisons between urine and Psychemedics hair tests, deterrent impact that discourages drug use and reduces DOT test positive rates, and endorsement by the Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Associations all point to one conclusion. Adding Psychemedics to a DOT urine-based testing program is just good business.