May 29, 2020

The Consequences of Hiring a Bad Driver

In other industries, a bad hire can only mean wasted time and money on training. In the trucking industry, bad hires can cost a lot more than that. If you hire someone who isn’t qualified to drive a commercial vehicle or has a history of reckless driving, it can hurt both your company and other drivers on the road. The driver in this article probably never should have been hired and the company he was driving for may face some devastating consequences.

Hiring the wrong driver can:

  • Increase the risk of accidents and fatalities on the road
  • Potentially create a lawsuit against your company
  • Directly impact your CSA score
  • Make it harder to get loads
  • Waste time and money on training someone who doesn’t stay

If someone who isn’t qualified to be driving a CMV is driving for you and they get into an accident that causes direct harm to others on the road, it isn’t the driver who is in trouble legally. It’s you.

There are ways to learn about your potential hire to avoid the negative consequences of making the wrong choice. Here are a few resources you can use to make sure the driver you choose is the right one.

Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers a pre-employment screening program (PSP) for those looking to hire new drivers. This pre-screening includes:

  • Last five years years of crash data
  • Last three years of roadside inspection data and where they occurred
  • Past records of crashes and who the driver was operating for
  • Previous safety violations, including fatalities, injuries, or towaways

The PSP reports on data collected about the driver on a national-scale, not just a single state. You can see a sample report the FMCSA has published here or you can watch this video to learn more about the advantages of being part of the PSP:

Why Is the PSP Important?

The PSP allows you to get accurate data on a potential hire. How you use the information you get is even more important. Even if someone has a clean report, it doesn’t mean you should automatically hire that person.

Getting a PSP allows you to see who a potential hire’s previous employers were. It also gives you a chance to see your candidate’s past violations. It may be a good idea to ask your candidate about those violations during an interview to get an idea of whether or not a similar violation would happen again if they were hired.

Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)

An MVR (sometimes referred to as a Motor Vehicle Report) is the record of someone’s driving record in a specific state. Each state collects their own data, so what is included in the record depends on the state. In Utah the report includes:

  • Citations
  • Arrests
  • Suspensions
  • Revocations

The data included is only for 3 years, but any DUI or drug-related charges are reflected on the report for 10 years. In most states, drivers can get a copy of their own MVR or companies can request an MVR as long as they follow regulations set by the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and the FMCSA.

Unlike the PSP, the MVR only reports data from an individual state. Each state has different policies on what data they collect and how to obtain it, so make sure you go to the correct DMV site to get the most accurate data on a potential driver.

Keeping Current Drivers Accountable

Your driver’s safety habits are a reflection of your company and affect your CSA score, so make sure to have a system in place that rewards drivers for passing safety inspections. Many companies offer a small cash bonus for clean inspections. It’s up to you to decide what you can provide your drivers to reward them for doing good work.

If you have any questions or want more help getting your company on the road, contact Motor Carrier HQ. Or, you can keep reading below for more tips on how to find and hire the right people.

Call Motor Carrier HQ

Writing the Right Job Description

The better the job description, the more likely you’ll have qualified candidates apply to your company. Having a clear job description also makes it easier to sort through any resumes you get of who would or wouldn’t be qualified for the position.

Make Duties and Responsibilities Clear

You’re looking for a specific kind of person to hire, right? Then, make sure that they match what you’re looking for by being as specific as possible in your job description. Make it clear who you will hire and who you won’t.

If you don’t want to hire someone who has a DUI on their record, write it out in your job description! You can also answer some common questions someone might have about your business, including but not limited to:

  • Are there specific benefits your company offers that others might not?
  • Do you offer training to new drivers?
  • How much is a starting salary?
  • What benefits are available?
  • How much home-time can someone expect?
  • How much experience do you want your new hires to have?

Make sure you make it clear why someone should apply to work for you and not someone else. Be honest and don’t exaggerate your benefits. Even if you find the right person, they might not want to stay if you don’t provide what they’re looking for.

Conducting the Perfect Interview

When interviewing potential drivers for your company, don’t stick to basic “yes” or “no” questions. Instead, ask a variety of questions, ranging from basic work experience to what the potential employee would do in hypothetical situations.

Truck driving is more than just driving a truck. It’s important to have the skills necessary to communicate with others, whether it’s dispatch or with other members of their team. Use the interview to see if they have the skills necessary and the right personality to work for your company.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

While there is a trucker shortage, that doesn’t mean you should settle for less. If someone doesn’t meet your requirements, don’t hire them! Remember, it’s your company’s reputation that’s on the line if your driver breaks safety violations. Keep your company and others safe by not employing reckless drivers.

Getting More Resources

Hiring drivers is just one aspect of running a trucking company, but there’s a lot more that goes into it. If you want more resources on how to start your own company, you can check out our podcast Haulin Assets, where we started a trucking company and walk our listeners through the process from start the start.

We’re also available to help walk you through everything you need to start your own business, so don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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