Most business owners would quickly agree that putting quality operators behind the wheel of their company’s vehicles is the most important component of a fleet driver safety program.
However, when we ask them, “How do you go about weeding out unqualified drivers and hiring the safest and most experienced employees?” there’s typically not a simple answer.
If you’re looking for assistance with selecting the best drivers, then you’ve come to the right place. The Lighthouse Insurance team has spent decades handling the complexities of insuring small, medium, and large commercial fleets. We have partnered with hundreds of companies like yours who need to hire, train, and retain the most qualified drivers.
Whether you’re seeking drivers for your taxicabs, para-transit vans, limos, or commercial trucks, the following outlines the best steps for you to take when hiring these critical operators.
Five best practices to help you easily navigate the commercial driver qualification process
- Review all state and federal hiring laws and regulations. Understanding and following Massachusetts state and federal hiring laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC), Standards for the Protection of Personal Information for MA Residents, and more, should save you from the potential headache of an unfair hiring practices claim.
- Have all prospective drivers submit an Application for Employment and set up an interview. The application is an excellent way to rule out prospective drivers who just don’t meet your hiring criteria. However, the interview is when you can really get to know each applicant and evaluate whether they will be a good representative of your business.
- Perform a driver’s license verification, reference checks, and background investigations for each applicant.Once you’ve narrowed down your pool of potential drivers, it’s time to make sure that all the information they’ve given you is on the up-and-up, including their license status, past employment and education, and criminal record. You can also check applicants’ Massachusetts Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) status with the Department of Transportation or request that the driver get their own score on the USDOT website.
- Review each driver’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). Even though this is one of the last steps in the hiring process, we consider it one of the most essential because it will show all the driver’s past violations and accidents. Reviewing a driver’s MVR for the past five years should give you an excellent idea of how this individual is likely to perform on the road in your company vehicles. To obtain an MVR, you must get permission from the applicant first.
- Conduct a road test. How can you be sure a potential employee will drive safely once they’re out on the road? Get in a vehicle with them to see for yourself if they have the skills to handle a variety of traffic situations. Before heading out on a road test, though, you might want to ask applicants to show you how they would check if their vehicle is safe to operate and also have them take a written test of general road rules. Their actions and responses may provide you with even more valuable insights into their driving knowledge and experience and help you make the final hiring decision.
If an applicant makes it smoothly through all of these steps, then they are likely to be a good hire for your business. However, as part of the preemployment process, it is also critical to obtain a medical certificate from a doctor certifying that the applicant is free of health concerns that may impede their ability to drive a commercial vehicle. In addition, you should consider conducting drug and alcohol testing that includes both state and federally illegal substances.
Lighthouse Insurance can help you get rewarded for hiring the safest drivers
The Lighthouse team has partnered with top local and national insurance carriers so that we can find you not only the best commercial auto insurance coverage options for your business’ distinct needs and risks but also the most cost-effective ones.
For example, several of our selected carriers offer their customers the opportunity to save on their commercial auto premiums just by signing up for a safe driver electronic monitoring program. If you choose to participate in a program like this, your insurance provider will use an electronic logging device to collect data about your vehicles, driver behaviors, and other key road safety diagnostics. In addition to instant savings for electing to participate, you may earn additional premium credits if your employees’ driving data are favorable compared to drivers doing similar work.
Most importantly, these data may give you invaluable insight into how your hires are performing on the road. Ultimately, this may help you better protect your business, employees, and commercial vehicles from risk.
The Lighthouse commercial auto team looks forward to personally getting to know you, your business, and all your commercial vehicle needs. Please contact us today to set up a consultation.