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Driver Selection An Evolving Science

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The employees your business trusts to move precious cargo are charged with significant responsibility. In addition to that, they control freight that serves as a moving billboard for your operation, representing your brand on the road. Besides the obvious costs associated with accidents such as property damage and bodily injury, lawsuits and increased premiums, there is a cost to your reputation and ultimately, the ability to generate and retain business. 

The key to an effective driver-selection process includes establishing a consistent screening process.  This protects a company from certain types of discrimination claims and results in lower premiums. In instances in which problem drivers are put on the road, an underwriter could think less of a company’s controls, making it difficult find a carrier in a hard market.

With that in mind, listed below is our suggested method for suggesting drivers:

1. Application Process

The application process takes into account a candidate’s work history and driving experience.
Some key considerations when vetting a potential employee include:

  • Employment history
  • Background
  • Driving experience and history
  • References
2. Pre-Employment Testing

Pre-employment testing should include a drug screening that is in accordance with FMCSR regulations as well as a road test offering the opportunity to evaluate a driver.

3. Interviewing Candidates

The interview will provide insight into the driver’s personality and can reveal key indicators such as a work ethic, equipment experience and accident and safety records.

4. Quantifiable Driver Qualifications

A quantifiable evaluation of a driver’s qualifications demonstrates a commitment to keeping the roads safe.  Any actions that are taken should be based on the number of points and violations shown from MVR checks and driver evaluations. It’s prudent to establish a point structure system to evaluate potential new  — and current — driver motor vehicle records.

It’s imperative that a company formulates written standards for what is and is not acceptable on a vehicle-operator’s recent record. For instance, a company’s driver-selection policy may indicate that over a three-year period, three minor moving violations or one major moving violation – including excessive speeding, driving under the influence or driving without a license – could disqualify a driver from working for your company.

In addition to passing that objective screening process, it’s our belief that a driver should meet or exceed the following criteria:

  • Current and valid driver’s license
  • Current copy of Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)
  • Recent, verifiable, commercial driving experience based on license type — Class A and B-CDL drivers must have a minimum of 1 year
  • Non-CDL drivers must have a minimum of 6 months for vehicles in excess of 10,000 GVW
  • Minimum age for CDL drivers – 23 years
  • Minimum age for Non-CDL drivers –  21 years
  • All CDL drivers must have a current DOT physical
  • Documented and verified Driver Qualification (DQ) File


Those criteria should provide a solid baseline for making a hire. Keep in mind that the risks of having a problem driver working in even an auxiliary role – such as a helper or lumper – are not entirely negated. When a driver with a sub par record gets in an accident, your company is exposed to negligent entrustment lawsuits, which could amplify the dollar amount of a claim. The benefits for operating with a roster of entirely safe drivers are numerous. Here, are few of the biggest advantages:

  • Safer roads: Drivers with clean records are less likely to get in accidents that cause property damage or bodily injury to employees or the public.
  • Lower premiums: Companies that have a majority of drivers boasting clean driving records can save as much as 25 percent on its rates with a credit available from their carrier. If a company’s drivers have troublesome records, carriers may not even offer quotes to cover them.
  • Less turnover: Safe, professional drivers infrequently need to be replaced.
  • Positive Culture:  Demanding and rewarding safe drivers create a positive culture within the organization.

For more information about the driver-selection process, please contact Horton Group team members – Curt Emery or 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.