Most people don't think about truck drivers as highly-skilled professionals.
That's unfortunate because it takes more than a cool CB handle and a pair of steel-toed work boots to be an effective truck driver. Good drivers are hard to find, but they can make the difference between success and failure of your business.
Hiring dependable drivers for your company trucks is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Prior training and work experience are fine, but there are other factors you also need to take into consideration during the hiring process. A hiring failure in any of these areas will directly impact your company's bottom line. Worse yet, it has the potential to create liabilities from which your business may never fully recover.
- Licensing. U.S. Department of Transportation regulations require that drivers be at least 21 years old and possess a current CDL (Commercial Drivers License). As an employer, you're responsible for making sure that drivers not only have proper licensing, but maintain it throughout the duration of their employment.
- Vision and hearing. U.S. DOT regulations also require truck drivers to meet specific physical standards. In addition to good hearing, all of your drivers are required to have at least 20/40 vision (with corrective lenses).
- Driving history. Hiring a driver with a history of accidents or driving violations opens the door to litigation later on. Every driver you hire should be subjected to a thorough background check that includes a comprehensive motor vehicle history.
- Criminal history. Likewise, hiring a driver with a criminal record is a disaster waiting to happen, especially if the individual committed crimes in a driving capacity. If a negligent or substance-related incident occurs, prior DUI arrests provide easy fodder for attorneys to use in a lawsuit.
- Drug & alcohol screening. These days, any employer that fails to conduct regular drug and alcohol screening on his drivers is inviting a wide range of problems into his business. Substance screening companies are a dime a dozen – pick one and make sure the people you put behind the wheel are substance-free.