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Driver Eligibility Criteria: From “Nice to Have” to “Need to Have”

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Driver Eligibility Criteria: From “Nice to Have” to “Need to Have”

For many years it was acceptable to have your insurance broker or carrier approve or deny drivers based on their MVR (Motor Vehicle Record).  The commercial auto industry has continued to lose money for 10 straight years (from 2010 to 2019). Also, increases in the number of nuclear verdicts* due to social inflation continues. A nuclear verdict is a court judgment that exceeds $5M in awards.

Therefore, both of these contributing factors make it a requirement to check a driver’s MVR to having it meet specific written criteria.

Every company that employs drivers now needs to have written criteria for MVR driver eligibility guidelines.  The policy should be detailed enough to provide guidance and standardization and should be included in the company’s fleet safety program.

Sample Driver Eligibility Requirements

Eligible drivers must:

  • Be between 21 and 65 years of age
  • Be cleared by a physician, if over the age of 65 with a Class A CDL
  • Not have any commercial driving responsibilities, to be considered acceptable as an owner or partner
  • Have a minimum of TWO years’ driving experience, not including foreign experience
  • Have an acceptable driving record

An Acceptable Driving Record Means:

  • Zero major violations in the last three years
  • A maximum of three minor moving violations in the last 3 years
  • A maximum of one at-fault accident in the last 3 years

Any “major violation” is a citation that comprises of:

  • Drug or alcohol violations connected with the motor vehicle usage
  • 20 MPH+ speeding violations above the posted limit
  • Homicide, manslaughter, or use of a vehicle for illicit purposes
  • Hit and runs
  • Careless or reckless driving
  • peed or drag racing, any attempts to elude an officer of the law
  • Driving while license is suspended or revoked

Minor violations constitute any moving traffic citation (including speeding less than 20 MPH over the posted speed limit, the failure to stop or yield at signage, any illegal lane changes, etc.) other than what would constitute any major violation, as stated above.

The following are not considered moving citations:

  • Motor vehicle equipment, load, or size requirement issues
  • Incorrect display or failure to display license plates of the vehicle
  • Failure to sign or display registration card
  • Use of a cell phone while driving
There are several reasons why driver eligibility criteria are necessary. So, let’s go over them.
  • It will undoubtedly be a requirement by all insurance companies to get the best possible rates.
  • The criteria protect your company from:
    • Large lawsuits, such as negligent entrustment, where a plaintiff’s attorney can allege that you allowed a driver access to a vehicle who was not fit to drive.
    • A negligent entrustment verdict against your company could put you out of business, as the awards could be very high, above your umbrella limits.
    • Discrimination allegations from potential or current employees who allege they were treated unfairly or differently from another employee.  By following a written policy, this allegation becomes much more difficult to prove.
  • Driver eligibility criteria help create better claims experience. As a result, this leads to better insurance rates.

  • Companies with fewer claims have less time and energy associated with motor vehicle crashes, therefore increasing their productivity.

  • With driver eligibility requirements, you take the step to ensure the safety of the public and your employees. This is incredibly important.

  • Would you want your reputation to be tarnished? The driver shortage is a real challenge today. Finding qualified drivers won’t be easy, and it takes work. Yet, hiring an unqualified driver to fill an open spot could put you out of business.



Having a good culture with a strong human resources and recruiting department is the best way to overcome the driver shortage while also putting qualified drivers behind the wheels of your vehicles and trucks. The employees your business trusts to move precious cargo are charged with significant responsibility, remember that. For more information about the driver-selection process, please contact Horton Group team member, Tony Hopkins.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.