One way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance and other operating costs is to minimize risks. One way to minimize risk is to hire safe drivers. You’ve probably heard the adage that goes something like this: “Employees can be your most valuable asset… your competitive advantage.” Most business owners/managers would agree, but many would add that employees can also be your greatest liability.
However, the ongoing shortage of drivers is probably creating additional challenges when it comes to hiring employees who become valuable assets rather than your greatest liability. The good news is that according to experts, “The number of unfilled driver jobs slid to nearly 78,000, down about 4% from a record 81,258 in 2021.” The bad news is that slight improvement is expected to be temporary, which may have you thinking that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. NOT at the expense of your business! Hiring the safest drivers available is crucial to your business’s success.
Unsafe drivers increase operating costs, increase turnover rates, and can damage your business reputation. Data shows that “the best drivers can reduce costs by more than 12%, but the worst drivers can increase costs by more than 13%.” Taking the time now to evaluate candidates and hire the best drivers available to lower costs and minimize additional headaches down the road makes good business sense.
8 Tips for Hiring Safe Drivers
- Set Standards – Set specific standards, such as the minimum number of driving years required, the maximum number of moving violations, etc.
- Create a Culture of Safety – A safety culture is “an [organizational] culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes—and these are shared by the majority of people within the company or workplace. It can be [characterized] as ‘the way we do things around here.’ A positive safety culture can result in improved workplace health and safety (WHS) and [organizational] performance.”
- Review Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) – An MVR will include basic information, the candidate’s driver’s license number, their license classifications, and their license status. It will also disclose any traffic citations, license suspensions, DUI convictions, and accident reports. Drivers with serious moving violations or accidents on their record may not be good candidates.
- Contact Previous Employers – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that “you verify an applicant’s safety performance history with their past employers for at least the past three years.” Plus, this simple step can save headaches and costs down the road.
- Review DOT Safety Performance - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) allows you to obtain a 3-year history of an applicant’s DOT inspection and violation history and a 5-year history of DOT-recordable crashes for a nominal fee.
- Conduct a Pre-Employment Drug Testing – Instituting a pre-employment drug testing program can help keep unsafe drivers off the road.
- Require a Road Test – A driving test is one of the best ways to discover a driver’s temperament, driving skills, and how safe a driver they will be.
- Document – Keeping detailed records can help provide a complete picture of an applicant’s qualifications, making it easier to compare candidates. Furthermore, the DOT requires that you maintain a driver qualification file for all employees who operate a commercial vehicle that includes information such as your inquiry to previous employers, inquiry to state agencies, inquiry about drug and alcohol tests, etc.
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