With the continued expansion of the manufacturing, logistics, and distribution industry and the increasing demand for truck drivers, employers are looking for qualified employees now more than ever. The industry needs drivers to fill the hundreds of job positions nationwide, but it is also essential to hire the very best candidates with proper training to keep the road and our fellow citizens safe.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set requirements all companies that hire CDL drivers must follow. These requirements include background screenings. If companies want to maximize their return on their screening investment, they should look into adopting a screening program that goes beyond the minimal requirements. We have provided a list of the best practices for background screening that can help you to protect yourself against penalties by not complying with FMCSA or the DOT, and to prevent accidents from happening due to unqualified drivers.
What is Involved in Background Screening
Before a driver can be employed, the FMCSA requires that a motor carrier obtains three-year driving and employment histories on each driver. The DOT oversees drug and alcohol testing on all required drivers, and they require that all employers of CDL drivers perform pre-employment drug tests and obtain a three-year drug and alcohol violation history on all employees. Both the DOT and FMCSA require employers to monitor their drivers on a consistent basis, and those who neglect to conduct this ongoing monitoring are subject to fines. To further reduce liability and ensure a safe workplace, employers should conduct additional background screenings that go beyond the compliance requirements. Included in these screenings should also be a history of criminal records, violence, and fraud.
Pre-screening potential drivers can help you eliminate those who do not meet the basic criteria. In addition to the required three-year employment and driver history check, employers should also perform an SSN check which looks at the potential employee’s Social Security Number and confirms that it is in a valid range, ensures the number doesn’t belong to someone who died, and gives a state and year of issue. A criminal pre-screening test also provides an employer with a broad criminal record search.
A three-year employment history and three-year driving history is required during this type of background screening. If a driver’s previous employer did not participate in filing the driver’s employment history, then requests for this information can be made manually. The information should include the dates of employment, the positions held and the rehire status. This information can reveal an appropriate amount of experience for future employers, as well as possible discrepancies in information. During this core screening is the further analysis of the driver’s criminal records which can show their previous residences and the criminal records for these locations.
This type of background screening involves drug and alcohol testing regulated by the DOT. Employers need to obtain a prospective employee’s three-year drug and alcohol violation history before hiring. This type of screening also requires a pre-employment drug test on all mandated CDL drivers, therefore it is important to work with a drug testing company that complies with DOT-testing regulations. Other services provided by a DOT- compliant testing facility will also include post-accident testing, random testing, and specimen collection, lab testing, and test review by a certified Medical Review Officer.
Ongoing screening is meant to ensure your company and your employees remain compliant and you maintain a safe workplace. The DOT requires employers of CDL drivers and motor carriers to randomly select a group of drivers to test for drugs and alcohol. It is important to work with a screening service that offers a random testing program to ensure that the random screening is valid and meets required annual percentages. Ongoing screening should also include post-accident testing if a driver gets into an accident, and you want to test for drug or alcohol use as a potential cause. Working with a testing partner that offers these services will take the guesswork out of knowing when to test and when it is required.
The Best Screening Practices for the Trucking Industry
There are many important tests to implement into your company to maintain compliance with the DOT and a safe work environment. Partner with a screening service that specializes in testing for the trucking industry and other industries where the DOT is involved. You can avoid any liabilities that occur due to hiring unqualified drivers, and protect your clients and others on the road by reducing the accidents your employees may cause.
For more information on DOT drug and alcohol testing, and to work with a drug testing service that specializes in providing screenings for the trucking industry, contact New Era Drug Testing today.