Driver Recruitment Processes: Steps to Hiring Safe Drivers

Aug 5, 2020 | Business Insurance

Have you ever been in a taxi or a car with a friend and felt so scared that you wanted to take the wheel? You’re right. This is why having a fleet or truck driver recruitment process is key to hiring safe drivers.

Driving Statistics

First, let’s talk about some numbers. Every year, about 2 million drivers in the U.S. get hurt so badly that they can’t drive again. And more than 1,600 children under 15 die in car accidents. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that every 12 minutes, someone dies in a car accident.



Driver Recruitment Process Part 1: Driving Safety

Even if you don’t want to be the victim, you wouldn’t want to be the one who hired the driver or a part of the company that hires multiple drivers.

A business can’t say enough about how important it is to hire safe drivers. Here are a few reasons why every company should make sure the drivers they hire know how to drive safely:

To protect the company’s reputation.

Every business has representatives who act as the face of the firm, whether they directly interact with customers or not. If a passenger experiences an Uber driver who is constantly trying to text while driving or who weaves in and out of lanes, the passenger may conclude that Uber isn’t selective when hiring drivers and may think twice about using Uber again.

Similarly, courier services share this similar flaw. Would you trust your shipments with careless drivers representing XYZ Courier Services if you knew of a better option? I really doubt it. It’s just as crucial to hire responsible drivers as it is to ensure your items pass Quality Control before being issued to the public.

Your driver’s recklessness could mean financial hiccups for your company. 

If a corporate driver causes an accident while working, the company may be liable. Without enough insurance, covering medical expenses could be prohibitively expensive. Imagine if a car accident caused permanent disability or death and the average compensation was $30,000.

Public safety and personal repercussions.

Every accident that claims a life or causes a lifelong disability affects more than one individual. Breadwinner, parent, husband, etc. are all potential victims. A careless motorist who causes death risks years in prison and thousands in penalties. This has serious ramifications for the driver and his family. As a driver-hiring organization, you must not send out risky or unsuitable drivers. You also want to avoid an accident-prone workforce. Hiring dangerous drivers endangers their lives.


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Driver Recruitment Process Part 2: Requirements

Having safe drivers on staff is obviously crucial, so it’s also important to have a methodical approach to hiring them. The interests of the company’s employees, clients, end consumers, owners, and community are all better protected when the company has a solid hiring process in place.

Driver Recruitment Guide:

Have a hiring policy in place.

Non-negotiable, this stage ensures the same method is followed no matter who handles the recruiting or how many employees are engaged. State, federal, and DOT rules must be considered when drafting this policy. This policy should clarify hiring regulations for drivers, including employment requirements.

Driver qualification.

A driver’s 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  

Safe Driving

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.

Background Check

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.


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Ask open-ended questions.

Asking a candidate to narrate their driving history, whether it’s about accidents, traffic violations, or how they learned to drive, will give you several pieces of information and allow you to ask 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

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Driver MVR

Depending on where your business is located, an MVR may contain 3 to 10 years’ worth of

Information.

  • 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.

Considering the National Safety Council’s (NSC) projection that 38,800 individual deaths in automobile crashes in 2019, you’ll know how crucial the hiring process is. This is also how important it is to make sure those who make it through are safe drivers and remain so.

A lot is at stake when you’re a driver: lives, jobs, and public safety. 

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