Driver selection and evaluation
Whether driving is a full-time responsibility or incidental to your employee's job duties, it is important that you take precautions to ensure the quality of every employee (or volunteer) that will be driving for your organization. Using a driver selection process is one of the most important things you can do to avert vehicle accidents. By evaluating your potential drivers systematically at the onset and re-examining them annually thereafter you can help ensure you are selecting reliable and skilled candidates qualified to operate your (or their) vehicles on behalf of your organization. When you follow certain best practices in your driver selection process you can reduce the likelihood of accidents involving your vehicles and employees and in turn provide your organization great benefits in the long run.
To do this, consider developing a set of driver selection criteria (put it in writing to promote consistency) that will help you evaluate your driver candidates to determine if they are acceptable for your organization. The following practices will help you with your driver selection process.
Things that you should review:
- Has their employment application been thoroughly completed?
- Reviewpast work records (to screen out those with unexplained gaps or candidates that appear to be “job hoppers”)
- Is the applicant able to understand both oral and written instructions?
- Reference Checks: Older accidents and violations do not appear on the MVR. In order to get an accurate representation of a driver’s past performance, inquire further into their history through reference checks. Previous employers can typically verify such things as:
- Length of employment
- Number of accident reports
- Overall driving performance
- Verify that they have a valid and current driver’s license (for the state of residence), photocopy both sides and place in the applicants file
- Note any driving restrictions, such as corrective lenses, no nighttime driving, etc.,
- Implement a tracking/monitoring system to confirm and verify that all licenses are current
- Hire experienced drivers - two years’ experience should be a minimum (but individuals with only two years of experience will still be somewhat inexperienced and pose some risks); five or more years of driving experience is preferred. Any prospect with less than five years driving experience is considered a potential high risk. Hiring older drivers may provide your organization with a more mature (and experienced) driver and lessen your driving exposures.
- Results of your drug screening
- Background checks
- Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). Prior driving experience is typically a good indicator of current driving habits. Ask the prospective employee to bring in a copy of their MVR (3-year history at a minimum, 5-year history is preferred) at the time of the interview. Analyze it to determine if the driver is eligible to drive one of your vehicles or their own personal vehicle for your organization. Ensure there are no violations of an extreme nature. Drivers with more than two moving violations, or a combination of moving violations and accidents, may cause future problems for your organization. Any person with a suspended license cannot legally drive a vehicle. Therefore, any potential employee with a suspended license should not be hired for driving.
- MVRs should demonstrate a good driving record
- Drivers with three (3) or more moving violations in three years should be disqualified.
- Drivers with any of the following violations (regardless of time period) should be disqualified:
- Violation in connection with a fatal accident
- Using a vehicle to elude an officer
- Hit and run – leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and/or refusing to take a blood/breath test
- Driving under a suspended, revoked, or expired license
- Any felony involving the use of a vehicle
- False report to police department
- Failure to report an accident
- Negligent vehicular homicide
- Permitting an unlicensed driver to drive
- Reckless, negligent, careless driving, or racing
- Operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission
- Speeding in excess of 20mph over speed limit
- Disqualify drivers with two (2) or more preventable accidents* in three years
- Candidates must agree to comply with your drug and alcohol testing program in compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
- Road test: Just because a candidate has the credentials to drive, that doesn’t mean they are a good driver. A good way to find out if a driver can perform the driving tasks expected of them is to test their driving ability. To do this, cover a range of possible driving situations in a road test that is appropriately long enough to determine their driving skill. This is also a great chance to determine the applicant’s attitudes toward safety. While only a few will probably be hired to be full-time drivers, others will probably be hired for purposes other than their driving experience. Operating a vehicle for your organization will be incidental to their job duties. However, it is important to ensure the quality of any employee hired that will be driving for your organization.
- You should test drivers on rules, knowledge of safety precautions, emergencies, and any other aspects important to your particular operation.
- Once eligible drivers have been identified, establish (and maintain) an up to date driver’s list of all personnel who are authorized to operate a vehicle on behalf of your organization. This should include full-time, part-time, infrequent or incidental drivers. Record driver information as it appears on their driver’s license.
- You should have procedures in place to assure your drivers maintain an “acceptable” MVR during the tenure of their employment. You can verify this with an annual MVR review.
- Stipulate that failure to participate in pre-employment or post-hire MVR screening may result in denial of employment, loss of employment, or revocation of driving privileges.
Additional requirements, which are not covered here, exist for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
By following certain best practices for hiring drivers, you can reduce the likelihood of your employees being involved in a vehicle accident. Being assured that you have qualified drivers on the road will reap benefits and save your organization both valuable time and money.
*A preventable accident is any traffic accident which results in property damage and/or personal injury, regardless of who is injured, what property was damaged, to what extent, or where it occurred, in which the driver in question failed to exercise every reasonable precaution or action to avoid the accident. Driving to avoid preventable accidents is defensive driving. The fact that the driver was not charged with a traffic violation by law enforcement is not part of this definition. (Derived from the National Safety Council DDC-4 Guide)