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Driver Qualifications And Driver Shortage

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Moving & Storage Industry Dilemma

Have you heard this one recently from your insurance provider, “sorry…….this driver does not meet our qualification standards”.  “They are not allowed to drive a company vehicle”?

In an industry that has been negatively affected by the lack of quality drivers/operators, insurance providers are relying on driver qualification standards as an underwriting tool as much today as ever before.  For providers that specialize in the industry and provide the most competitive insurance rates, this will continue to be the main underwriting factor. 

Who can blame them?  Historically, auto losses involving the operation of a straight truck or tractor trailer have led to the largest and most severe insurance claims.  Insurance carrier driver qualification standards focus on 3 key areas:  

  1. motor vehicle record (see below)
  2. driver’s age (minimum age 21)
  3. driver’s experience.

Typical Driver Eligibility Guidelines for MVRs

  • No major violations in the last (3) years.  Majors include: Driving while intoxicated, failure to stop after an accident, reckless driving, racing or attempting to elude an officer, making a false incident report or speeding in excess of 20 mph.
  • Maximum of (2) minor moving violations in last (3) years
  • Maximum of (1) at-fault accident in last (3) years
  • Maximum of (1) minor moving violation with (1) at-fault accident in the last (3) years

How to Get an Exception on an Unqualified Driver

On occasion, our clients ask us to seek an exception to a denial based on a motor vehicle record.  In order to prepare our case, with a better chance at gaining an exception, we need to be armed with the following information:

  1. Actual driving duties (local, pack van or over the road operator)
  2. Importance of this driver to the company
  3. Any extenuating circumstances surrounding the violation
  4. A plan to monitor the drivers record (probation)
  5. Consequences for additional violations
  6. Additional training

How to Get to Youthful Driver Exception

For most providers to the industry, the minimum driver age is 21 with at least 4 years of driving experience.  Even with the potential of the FMCSA dropping the CDL qualification age to 19, do not expect the insurance providers to ease off on this requirement anytime soon.  While this is pretty much the hard and fast rule, moving and storage companies that develop qualification programs for younger drivers can sometimes create an exception.  A good foundation for an acceptable training program for younger drivers would include:

  1. Candidates with clean driving records (A must for younger drivers)
  2. Documented in class training
  3. Proper licensing
  4. Documented over the road training
  5. A graduated training program (Pack Van to Straight Truck to Tractor)
  6. Good corporate track record with low losses

It is important to note that moving companies should not get in the habit of asking for exceptions.  These requests should be reserved for employees that are held in high regard.  If moving companies continue to seek exceptions on every case, the likelihood of success diminishes greatly. In addition, this creates an impression of the moving company’s lack of controls which has a negative impact on future insurance pricing.

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.