Have you ever been in a situation where you took a cab or drove around with a friend and found yourself latching onto the door handle and wanting to offer to drive instead because you actually felt afraid for your life? Well, rightfully so.
In the U.S. alone, about 2 million drivers end up with a permanent injury each year and more than 1,600 children (less than 15 years old) die each year in these traffic accidents. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA), someone dies in a motor vehicle crash every 12 minutes.
As much as you don’t want to be the victim, you definitely wouldn’t want to be involved in any of these accidents as being the one who hired the driver or a part of the company that hires multiple drivers for that matter.
The importance of hiring safe drivers for a company can never be understated. Here are a few reasons why every company should make sure they hire drivers who implement safe driving practices:
- To protect the company’s reputation. Every company has frontliners who, whether customer-facing or not, represent the company. When a passenger encounters an Uber driver who keeps texting while driving or keeps trying to overtake and change lanes, the passenger would tend to think that Uber, as a company, isn’t picky about their drivers, and would probably think twice before he or she decides to book another Uber ride. The same goes for courier services. When you see reckless drivers on the road, and you notice that they drive for XYZ Courier Services, would you entrust your packages with them if you had other options? I doubt it very much. Hiring safe drivers are as important as making sure your products pass Quality Control before they are released into the market.
- Your driver’s recklessness could mean financial hiccups for your company. When a driver gets into a road accident while on the job, the company could be sued and found liable for the negligent acts of its driver. The medical costs alone can be huge and if your company doesn’t have the right insurance in place, you could get into serious financial trouble. If an average car accident settlement costs around $30,000, can you imagine how much it would cost if there was permanent injury or loss of life?
- Public safety and personal repercussions. From a more personal perspective, every accident where a life is lost or a permanent injury changes someone’s life forever, it is not just one person who is affected. The victim may be the breadwinner in the family, a parent or a spouse, and the list goes on. The driver who is at fault, where reckless driving results in death, faces years of imprisonment and fines amounting to thousands of dollars. Surely this has dire consequences not just for the driver but for his loved ones as well. As a company that hires drivers, it is your responsibility to make sure that you don’t send off drivers who are unsafe or unfit to be on the streets. At the same time, you would also want to avoid having a workforce prone to accidents/injuries due to their own doing. By hiring drivers who practice unsafe driving, you also put their lives at risk.
Given the obvious importance of having people on your team who are safe drivers, it is equally important to have a systematic approach to hiring safe drivers. Having a good hiring process in place helps protect the interests of all the company’s stakeholders–such as the company’s employees, its clients, the end consumers, the owners of the company, and the community to which it belongs.
Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Have a hiring policy in place. Definitely a non-negotiable, this step assures you that no matter who handles the hiring itself or how many people are involved in the hiring process, the same procedure is followed. State and federal regulations should be taken into consideration when creating this policy, as well as the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Of course, this policy should also outline rules that are specific to hiring drivers, including employment requirements that need to be met or provided.
- Driver qualification should be clear and a qualification file must be maintained for each driver. A driver’s qualification file would include the following:
- Driving records
- Road test certificates
- Medical examiner’s certificate
- Annual driving review
- The importance of safe driving should be made clear as early as the interview stage of the hiring process.
- Instead of going straight to the questions, start with short statements about how important safe driving is to the company and that this is one of the core responsibilities of the drivers.
- Let the applicant know that a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) and a background check are crucial requirements in the hiring process. Doing so lets the applicant know that whatever information they give can be validated.
- Ask open-ended questions. When it comes to getting information about a candidate’s driving history, whether it’s about accidents, traffic violations, or how they learned to drive, asking questions that would have them narrate events would give you the opportunity to get several pieces of information which also allows the opportunity to ask to follow up questions if necessary.
Here are a couple of sample questions:
- What do you do when you’re driving long distances and you find yourself very sleepy?
- How would you ensure customer satisfaction when you know that the only way you’d make it on time to the customer is if you exceed the maximum speed limit?
- What steps have you taken to improve your driving skills?
- Find out if they have taken a defensive driving course. From there, you can find out their reason/s for having or not having enrolled in the course. Whatever answer they give could provide you with valuable insight into how much they value safe driving and could also be telling of any possible behavioral issues.
- Have them tell you about their daily routine. What’s their day like? Is it carefully planned, or does it seem chaotic?
- Evaluate driving records carefully–specifically, we are talking about MVR checks. The “Motor Vehicle Report” or “Motor Vehicle Record” is an invaluable tool in the hiring process. In addition to the candidate’s license information, it will also give you the following information:
- Accident Reports
- Traffic Violations
- License Suspensions
- Vehicular Crimes
- Driving Record Points
Depending on where your business is located, an MVR may contain 3 to 10 years’ worth of
- Include a road test in your screening process. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Hiring drivers is not an easy task, but it has to be done, and it has to be done well. We all know that there are people who are great at interviews but aren’t as good as they say they are.
- Have a pre-employment drug test. This is self-explanatory. It should also be made clear that there will be random drug tests following employment.
- Quality over quantity. The company’s driver recruitment process should never be compromised because of the need for additional drivers. A very important piece of advice is to take your time when hiring drivers. You’d want to make sure that you are not putting anybody at risk. When people’s lives are at stake, it should always be “safety first.”
- Establish a minimum number of years for the following:
- Driving experience – You’d certainly want someone with driving experience.
- A clean driving record – The candidate’s record does not have to be perfect; in fact, someone who has experienced an accident or has had a violation in the past would tend to be more careful. However, it wouldn’t be advisable to hire someone who just had a violation a month ago.
Why are MVRs Very Important in the Hiring Process?
What makes the Motor Vehicle Report a very important asset in the hiring process is that you can tell a lot about the candidate’s behavior and attitude in regards to safe driving from his record. Does he have a history of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? How about speeding tickets? Does he seem to be “accident-prone”? Being involved in an accident once in the last 3 years is one thing; having an accident once a year in the past five years is another.
2 Important Things To Note About Getting MVRs
- You should have the candidate’s signed consent to request for an MVR.
- Prior to making a hiring decision based on any adverse information found on the MVR, the candidate has to be given a copy of the MVR and allowed some time to check if the information is correct.
Why All This Fuss About Hiring Safe Drivers?
Hiring driving may not seem to be a difficult task. In this time and age, you might even say that almost every adult in the country can drive. Estimates by the American Trucking Association place the estimated number of truck drivers in the country at 3.5 million. And the estimated number of licensed drivers in the US in 2018 is 227.5 million.
However, if you consider the statistic from the National Safety Council (NSC) that an estimated 38,800 people died due to car crashes in 2019 alone, you’d realize how important the hiring process is, and how important it is to make sure that those who make it through the process are indeed safe drivers and that they remain so.
After all, a lot is at stake… People’s lives, people’s jobs, and public safety to name a few.
For more information, suggestion, or inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you.