Fleet Safety: Four Steps to Effective-Driver Selection

 Man driving a van.

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Driver selection guidelines are one of the most important things a company can implement to prevent vehicle accidents. A company should manage a written Motor Vehicle Records (MVR’s) program to assure that they are selecting the right employees to drive for the company and annually qualify each driver for desirable driving records. The following are some “best practices” guidelines that will help businesses implement and improve the driver selection process.

Step 1: Determine who drives for the company.

The first thing a business must do to control driver selections is knowing who is driving on behalf of the company. Most companies have drivers that fall into several categories:

  1. Non-employees operating company vehicles

  2. Drivers of vehicles owned or leased by the company

  3. Drivers with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL)

  4. Employees driving their own vehicle for company business

Step 2: Establish specific requirements depending on whose is driving.

For all employees, regardless if they are operating a company owned or leased vehicle, the company must:

  1. Verify the person has a valid Driver License.

  2. Determine that the license is appropriate for the type of vehicle they will be operating.

  3. Request a copy of their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) and compare it to the acceptable criteria before they drive for the company, and again on an annual basis.

For drivers of vehicles owned or leased by the company, it is wise to ask for a:

  1. Completed written application that includes a section that lists all driving violations and/or accidents within the last 3 years.

  2. Substance abuse test (optional).

For drivers with a Commercial Driver License:

  1. Conduct a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination.

  2. Create a driver qualification file for each driver that complies with DOT.

  3. Conduct a drug test for each driver, following DOT regulations (pre-hire, random, post-accident and suspension).

For employees using their own vehicles for company business:

  1. Require proof of insurance.

  2. Establish minimum personal limits of insurance. Rancho Mesa recommends a minimum of $100,000/$300,000/$100,000.

Step 3: Establish MVR Qualification Process

Managing the driver selection and ongoing qualification process is the employer’s responsibility. There is a broad range of driving violations that can be classified into two major categories “A” and “B.”

Category “A” would include driving under the influence of drugs, refusing to take a substance test, reckless/careless driving, speeding in excess of 14mph over the posted speed limit, texting, hit and run, speeding in a school zone, racing, driving with a suspended or revoked license, vehicular assault etc.

Category “B” would include, speeding 1-14 mph over posted speed limit, improper lane change, failure to yield, failure to obey traffic signal or sign, accidents, having a license suspended in the past for moving violations, etc.

Best practices for MVR qualifications include:

  • Anyone with a type “A” driving violation in the last five years is undesirable for a driving position.

  • Anyone with three or more type “B” violations, or two or more at fault accidents in a three-year period, is undesirable for a driving position.

  • Anyone with two type “B” moving violations, or one driving accident in the last three-year period, should be put on warning and MVR’s reviewed semi-annually.

In addition to the initial MVR check upon hire, all employees who routinely drive their personal vehicle on company business should have their MVR screened at least once every 12 months to ensure their driving record remains acceptable.

Step 4. Enroll all employees in the DMV Pull Notice Program.

For a nominal annual fee, employers can enroll in the Department of Motor Vehicles' Pull Notice Program. This service provides employers with a notice of any moving violations within 24 hours. So, an employer will know right away if one of their drivers' records has changed. Not participating in the program makes the company vulnerable to going months with an unqualified driver before an annual MVR review is completed.

Following these best practices for effective driver selection takes the guest-work out of determining who should drive for a company. Following these four steps can help ensure the company has qualified drivers at all times.

For questions about driver selection, contact Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc. at (619) 937-0164.