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How Do DOT Background Checks Work?

By Michael Klazema on 3/19/2018

A DOT background check is the background check process employers must follow if they are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Trucking companies and other businesses that carry freight on United States highways are regulated by DOT and are required to meet compliance requirements. A DOT background check is one such requirement. 

The standards for a DOT background check are set forth and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. These requirements include the following.

  • Driving Record Background Check: All DOT background investigations should include a driving history background check. The FMCSA stipulates carriers must collect separate motor vehicle records from each state where the applicant has been licensed in the past three years.

  • Work History Check: To satisfy FMCSA requirements, carriers must contact a candidate’s past employers before hiring him or her. These checks do two things: 1) verify employment and 2) determine if the driver was involved in any accidents at a previous job.
  • Drug Checks: DOT requires carriers to conduct two drug-related checks. The first is a standard pre-employment drug test. If a driver tests positive for drug use, he or she cannot be hired under FMCSA regulations. The second is a drug history check, which looks at the past several years of the driver’s life. This check is meant to determine whether the driver has previously violated FMCSA prohibitions for drug or alcohol use. If the driver has violated these prohibitions, the check should provide information about the nature of the violation (e.g., whether the driver tested positive for drugs or refused to complete a drug screening) and whether the driver went through a substance abuse rehabilitation program.
  • Medical certification: Drivers for FMCSA carriers must be certified by a professional medical examiner before carrying freight. These medical certifications are typically valid for two years, though drivers with certain health conditions may be required to go through the process more frequently.
  • Road Testing: Typically, the last step of a DOT background check is a road test. Even drivers who already hold commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) are often required to complete a road test when taking on jobs with new carriers.

At backgroundchecks.com, we can help carriers with several steps of this process, including driving record background checksemployment verifications, and drug testing.

Sources: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/391.31


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