I have been in the trucking industry for 30 years. So much has changed since I started my career and it doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon. When I first started in the industry, you could quit a company then be working for their competition a hour later. No random drug screening, no PSP report, no road test, no hassle, right? This type of hiring practice is almost the same as a pilot flying at night, or through a thick fog, without using their instruments. Today as an employer, you are required to conduct pre-employment drug screens, enroll all of your drivers in a random drug pool, conduct background checks, and so on. Does this sound familiar?
I can tell you stories of drivers back in the day that should not have been driving. They were a danger to the public and themselves. The companies were aware of this but life just went on until something catastrophic happened. The reason we have the regulations we have now is because someone intentionally, or unintentionally, got caught doing something they should not have done. The result: heavy regulations we all now have to endure. We all know there is a driver shortage and typically, all the good drivers are already working for another company. Where does this conundrum leave the companies that desperately need good drivers? I don’t think anyone has the answer. But, I can suggest a few hiring practices that will make a difference on how to attract good drivers and keep them, as well as how to protect yourself from future grief, legal or otherwise.
One of the biggest mistakes a carrier can make is not to utilize all of the information available today to assist them in making sound business decisions pertaining to the drivers they hire.
Two Reports to Use Before Hiring Your Truck Drivers
The PSP Report; Pre-Employment Screening Report
- The PSP Report is a document that you can order for $10.00 off of the FMCSA website. You can find the website at this web address. You can only pull this report legally one time but before you do, you will also need the driver sign an authorization form as well. The web address for the authorization can be found here.
- It will need to be conducted before you hire the driver so you can look at the report prior to making your decision.
- The PSP Report gives you visibility into the drivers 3-year violation history that does not show up on an MVR unless there is a citation issued with the violation.
- It also gives you visibility into the potential drivers crash history for the previous 5 years. This report is not required however, if you choose not to pull this report and the driver is involved in a catastrophic event such as a fatality, the lawyers representing the family of the deceased have been known to sue the carrier on behalf of their deceased family members. The victims lawyer will ask for the drivers DQ File, Training File, Drug and Alcohol File, Work History File, and all other documentation pertaining to the hiring of the driver. When they find out that you did not pull the PSP Report, they will sue the carrier for “Negligent Hiring practices” and for Negligent Entrustment” of the vehicle. The argument is that you could have known that the driver was had a history of violations, crashes, or both based on the information contained in the PSP Report but you chose not to secure one.
My suggestion is to never hire a driver before you pull their PSP Report. It could severely impact your profitability, growth, reputation, and could quite literally cost you a whole lot more. I am not saying that the PSP Report is a cure-all to litigation if something catastrophic occurs. But, the PSP Report proves that you as a company did everything you could to put a safe and professional driver in the truck.
- The DAC report is like a credibility check on drivers.
- DAC reports will contain your employment history, license verification, driving history, DOT Physical results, and criminal background information. They can include other information at the company’s request.
- DAC reports are managed and provided by HireRight, a private company specializing in employee background screening. The cost of the DAC Report is, $29.95 per report.
- DAC/HireRight Web address; http://www.hireright.com/background-check-faq/answers/requesting-a-copy-of-your-background-report-file.
Remember, a safe, professional, and courteous driver is the most cost-effective safety insurance a company can possess. The drivers you choose are your company’s public representation so how they conduct themselves on the highways and byways will determine the public’s opinion of your company both good and bad. The driver you hire needs to compliment your company and they need to be an asset and not a liability. By making the correct hiring decision and entrusting your trucks to the right professional driver, you can eliminate most of the negative issues before the driver even sits in the driver’s seat. There is a tremendous amount of information out there for carriers that want to hire safe and professional drivers. Please make sure to utilize The PSP Report and the DAC Report to protect your company from hiring decisions that can have a very negative impact on your operation and bottom line.