Commercial Auto Insurance Tips to Reduce Risk

Designing A Driver Qualification Process To Find The Best Employees

The team at Gilbert Insurance believes that one of the most effective ways to help reduce the risk
of an accident in one of your commercial vehicles is by hiring the most qualified employees and training them to be safe drivers.

Of course, it’s easy for us to recommend that you put the most qualified drivers behind the wheel of your company’s vehicles. But, we know that actually finding and keeping the best employees is a detailed and challenging process.

One of the key components to successful hiring – and retention – is having a well-thought-out driver qualification process. Below are eight of the best practices we have found for qualifying potential drivers.

1. Be familiar with state and federal hiring rules.

From laws and regulations on equal pay and data privacy, to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and fair credit reporting, it’s critical to be an informed employer when hiring talent.

2. Request applications and conduct interviews for each prospective driver.

Consider asking applicants to describe their professional driving experience and explain any special licenses, accidents, violations, etc. This gives you a window into their work and driving history. Also, to test their response to stressful situations, you may want to ask potential hires to describe how they’ve handled a breakdown or setback. Finally, it’s a good idea to ask questions that assess an applicant’s customer service skills and evaluate their willingness to follow procedures.

3. Perform a driver’s license verification, reference checks, and background investigations for each applicant.

To ensure that your potential drivers have a valid license in the state of Massachusetts, you can check their status through the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). In order to do so, you’ll need a copy of the driver’s license or Mass ID number, their full name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). If you are requiring applicants to also have their Massachusetts Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), then you can check on the status of this with the Department of Transportation, or you can request that the driver get their score on the USDOT website. The driver will need to enter their USDOT number and PIN into the SMS login page, which will enable them to locate their record/score. If they don’t have a PIN, they can request one from the USDOT. Delivery of a PIN typically takes four to seven days.

4. Review all Motor Vehicle Records or Reports (MVR) before you hire a new driver as well as annually for all drivers you employ.

Typically, a Motor Vehicle Report is ordered for the past three years. According to the Department of Transportation, drivers with prior violations and/or at-fault accidents in that period have a much higher probability of being in an accident than someone with a clean record. To obtain a Motor Vehicle Report, an employer can either request the MVR themselves or have the potential employee request their own record. If the employer is the one obtaining a registry record, they must certify that they are eligible to view the applicant’s personal information. Eligibility details and required identification can be found in the Request for Personal Information in the RMV records form. Once the employer completes the request form, they will have to obtain a notarized signature of the person whose personal information is being requested. For a public driving record, that is “true and attested,” along with a certified driving history from the RMV, you can expect applicable fees to amount to about $40.

5. Include a written test as part of your hiring process.

Requiring applicants to take a written test of general road rules as well as those specific to commercial vehicles should help you further evaluate how much knowledge they truly have.

6. Perform a road test for all potential drivers.

It’s important to see how prospective drivers will react while operating your commercial vehicles in real-life situations. For example, you may have to frequently parallel park your catering van or back up your landscaping truck into a garage. Seeing applicants practice these skills firsthand may provide invaluable insight into their driving skills.

7. Obtain a medical certificate if possible.

A medical certificate provided by a doctor is used to certify that an applicant is free of health concerns that may impede their ability to drive a commercial vehicle.

8. Conduct drug and alcohol testing.

Test prospective drivers for illicit substances, such as drugs and alcohol. Be sure to include both state and federally illegal substances in your test.

These guidelines offer suggestions for implementing a more comprehensive driver qualification process to help you identify the best employees for your business. However, the process of developing the safest drivers doesn’t stop at hiring; the next critical step is to implement detailed and ongoing safety training for all employees. To accomplish all of these important tasks, it may be very beneficial to work with an insurance partner who has the experience and tools to assist you with the hiring decision and a corporate auto/fleet safety program.

Do you need help assessing qualified drivers?

The knowledgeable insurance professionals at Gilbert are here to help you manage the employee vetting process with care and efficiency. Through our consultative approach, our team will assist you in finding out what you need to know about the employees you are entrusting with your vehicles as well as your company’s valuable reputation.

Our evaluative process includes:

  • Conducting a driver’s record background check for all your current drivers after they have filled out a Driver Information Release Form
  • Assessing your strategy for recruiting and hiring drivers and identifying if you are using any risky practices
  • Tracking how often you run MVRs (motor vehicle records)
  • Ensuring regular monitoring of driver information and records
  • Reviewing your potential hires before they become drivers to limit your risk and exposure
  • Examining your claims history, including frequency
  • Offering solutions on how to limit losses in the future

Gilbert Insurance also provides advice and support on putting better risk management programs in place, such as comprehensive vehicle repair, maintenance, and inspection plans, and strict driver safety protocols.

At Gilbert, we know that even when you follow all the best practices for hiring drivers, an accident may still occur. As your local insurance team, we assist you in securing quality commercial auto insurance protection, at affordable rates, to cover not just your drivers and vehicles, but also the equipment and/or products that may be on board.

Please contact us today for additional resources that may support your hiring process, or to get a complimentary review of your current commercial policies. We are committed to always offering knowledgeable advice along with professional and friendly customer service.