Enhancing Fleet Safety With Regular Driving Record Checks

Driving a commercial vehicle can be a rewarding career. For operators, it can be a satisfying and profitable enterprise. Along the road to success, though, there is a serious need to maintain road safety. That need is why the Department of Transportation regulates this industry’s hiring practices so intensely. Every employer must consult a motor vehicle record or MVR report when choosing drivers.

MVRs are as vital for assessing risk as a criminal record check. Avoiding fines or lawsuits for failing to follow the law is also an excellent reason to invest in a robust process. However, developing a safe fleet requires more than just a thorough screening at the hiring stage. You should proactively ensure that your employees remain safe.

First, let’s review the requirements regulated employers face when selecting employees. From there, we’ll examine best practices for ongoing screening. Here’s what to know about improving fleet safety by staying informed of the records.

Examine All the Necessary Records During Hiring

According to the Department of Transportation, all regulated employers must request and review an MVR report when hiring drivers. You must obtain the MVR from the state where you operate, and the driver currently holds their license. However, the law also requires you to consult MVRs from every state where an individual had a commercial driver’s license over the last three years.

For example, if a driver now has a license from and works in Michigan, you will need to consult driving records from Michigan. If the driver also held a license in Florida and Alabama at different times over the last three years, you’ll need to consult those records, too. A broad point of view at the hiring stage is essential. You don’t want to assume a solid safety track record based on one clean report. Another state’s records might reveal serious traffic violations or a history of accidents.

Establish a baseline of safety within your organization by being very thorough and following the letter of the law at the outset.

How Often Should You Review Driving Records?

The Department of Transportation requires you to periodically re-screen all the drivers you employ. The goal is to identify possible red flags that may have entered the system since your previous check. If a driver causes an accident or traffic police pull them over, employers are almost sure to find out. However, knowing what happens during private time and in someone’s private vehicle might not be easy.

That limitation is why the DOT requires regulated employers to order the driver’s current MVR every twelve months. Once a year, you must review their history again—though you do not need to re-check states where the driver no longer has a valid license.

Should you go beyond the DOT regulations in an employer background check? Some employers may choose to do so when they receive service from a cost-effective screening partner. Instead of examining driving records once a year, some employers may screen them biannually. Screening every six months provides more opportunities to identify red flags before they impact job performance. Ordering reports more often will have diminishing returns but may align with industries transporting hazardous or high-value cargo.

Red Flags to Look for When Re-Screening Driving Records

The same items that might be a concern during hiring should be what you look for when re-screening. According to the Department of Transportation, the most serious red flag is a DUI, an automatic disqualification. In most cases, you will discover driver DUIs due to an automatic license suspension upon a conviction. You may also learn about it when you check for a criminal record. However, there are other red flags to watch for – these include:

  • Multiple speeding tickets.
  • Minor or devastating accidents.
  • Running red lights or stop signs.
  • Other types of moving violations.

A speeding ticket for going five miles per hour over the speed limit might not be a cause for concern. However, a ticket for excessive speeding, such as driving 75 in a 35 mph zone, qualifies as a red flag. Generally, moving violations indicate disobedience to the road rules. What should you do when a driver’s report has new and possibly troubling information?

Using Regular Screening to Improve Oversight and Training

A report with new adverse information could signal that it’s time for an intervention. An employer can choose to speak to the driver and explore the issues. If the latest report contains information that indicates the driver may no longer be trustworthy driving your branded vehicles, it could be time to end the employment relationship. However, there are many other cases where early intervention can lead to corrections.

In some cases, you may wish to require that a driver take an improvement course. Refresher training may also be advisable. Some companies may do a ride-along test, sitting in the truck’s passenger seat while the driver completes training tasks. At times, drivers simply need the opportunity to re-focus on safe practices through further training.

Ultimately, you can’t make informed decisions without the correct data. Routine screening is vital in keeping your fleet safe and reliable, just like screening and employment verification are during hiring.

The Benefits of Staying Engaged With Screening

Reducing risk is the most evident reason for reviewing driving reports more regularly. There are some other benefits to routine screening. To recap those advantages:

  • You can demonstrate a solid commitment to due diligence. In the event of an accident on duty, you demonstrate that your business did everything possible to ensure the use of safe drivers.
  • You can improve driver retention by correcting issues early rather than reacting in the wake of an incident.
  • You can separate drivers that represent too much risk or aren’t committed to refresher training for safety.
  • Your overall fleet quality improves, which can translate into better business outcomes.

With routine driving record checks, you can extend the impact of your safety processes beyond the hiring stage.

Examine Your Procedures and Evaluate Your Approach Today

Could a transportation company do only the minimum required by the law and avoid problems for years? It’s possible but requires a much greater risk tolerance than the alternative. Regular screening lets you spot red flags early and provides opportunities for training and improvement. In the face of a long-term truck driver shortage, retaining drivers is a critical effort. If you can retrain an individual to correct problems identified in an interim driving record check, you can save on hiring costs and create better employee relationships.

Obtaining an MVR report regularly is easy with backgroundchecks.com. Satisfy your annual DOT requirements comfortably or conduct more regular screening based on your business practices. These detailed reports help you identify when a driver may need additional coaching or training to avoid problems. Consider whether your current approach to screening is as safe as possible, and connect with our services to see what’s possible.



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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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