Investment in a good driver helps businesses achieve the maximum value of their fleets, including efficient fuel consumption, increased road safety, and protection of the company image and reputation. Employers need to think long and hard about the type of driver they want to attract and how they will attract them to their business.
Good hiring decisions will mean that you are more likely to have the best drivers operating your vehicles and representing your business. It goes without saying that advertising a clear substance abuse program before the hiring decision will help by being upfront about how strict your business is on such matters.
Why You Should Carry Out Rigorous Vetting
As a business, you have a responsibility to protect the public as well as your employees. Investing in a rigorous recruitment plan can go a long way toward protecting your fleet and your business.
Choosing your drivers should be undertaken with as much care as recruiting your top-level executives, these individuals will be representing your business and should have the required skills to carry out their duties.
Motor vehicle collisions are actually the leading cause of workplace fatalities and as hiring an employee is a one-time process.
The qualification standard should include the following:
- Driving record
- A good attitude
‘Negligent Entrustment’ cases come about when a company carelessly permits a driver to use a company vehicle resulting in serious injury or death, and this should be avoided at all costs through strict procedures and rigorous vetting.
Once your drivers are in place, it is also important to consistently promote driver safety and excellent performance. One way of doing this can be through the use of incentives and competitions to reward good driver behavior with the backing of Senior Management to enforce a strong culture of striving towards excellence.
According to Aviva, there are a number of statistical reasons why you should carry out rigorous vetting throughout your driver recruitment process. In the U.K., 10 people are killed on the road, and around 1,000 others are injured every day.
Almost 33% of all fatalities involve the use of a company vehicle, and 33% of all large motor vehicle insurance claims involve drivers who have been employed for less than 12 months. Most worryingly of all, over 65% of all company vehicles will be involved in a road accident in the next 12 months!
Employers Are Vicariously Liable
Accidents within a business have both human and financial costs attached to them. As an employer, you are also ‘vicariously liable’ for any harm caused through the negligence of your employees, including driving a company vehicle, even when they have acted improperly or against your orders!
The financial loss to a fleet from just one poor hiring decision can be catastrophic in terms of additional costs in claims, vehicle damage, and increased fleet insurance premiums, which can sometimes cripple a business. This is why the following fleet driver selection tips have been put together.
Driver selection tips
Your driver selection process should include careful interviews, reference checking, inductions, regular driver license checks, compliance, and performance monitoring.
Here are 10 tips on how to implement a concise driver selection policy:
- Each driver should complete an application and undergo a personal interview to receive a full picture of who you are recruiting.
- A preliminary application form should include information such as driving license number, type of license, driving experience, equipment operated, miles driven, collision record for the past 3 years, any convictions, transferable work experience, and a history of stable employment, etc.
- A written test can be carried out in the interview to identify the driver’s knowledge of traffic regulations and general driving awareness. Additionally, you can request drivers to complete a free CDL practice test at CDLKnowledge.
- References must be verified prior to employment commencing to ensure validity. Questions should be asked to referees regarding driving performance, vehicle housekeeping, accident history and overall attitude.
- A thorough driver license check should be completed. A photocard license should not be accepted on its own, as any endorsements will be shown on the paper copy. While vetting the license, you should know how many points a driver would need before losing their license, what license category is required for the job, and if any further training will be required. You can check license codes and their meanings here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-codes. To check a license’s authenticity, you can contact the DVLA. It is also industry best practice to go back and check driving licenses every 6 months.
- Consider requesting or offering a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification, which requires an initial qualification with a further 35 hours of periodic training within 5 years, every five years, to maintain the Driver’s CPC. If your company offers this driver training, then this will attract conscientious drivers to your business.
- A road test is recommended prior to employment, so the driver can demonstrate their skills and an employer has the chance to evaluate their driving technique and safety awareness.
- A medical examination should be carried out prior to employment as well as regular checks during appointments. Your drivers need to be fit for purpose and this is the only way you can guarantee an acceptable bill of health.
- A Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check is a good indicator of a good driver. Whilst this does not guarantee a good driver, it will show consistency and indicate any possible issues.
- Finally, a substance abuse program should be integrated into the business driving policy and highlighted in the recruitment process to ensure awareness and understanding of the organization’s strict stance and serious attitude to recruiting responsible drivers.
It is important to consider these valuable tips and to remember that most fleets will recruit their problems through their drivers, so adopting a strict recruitment procedure and ongoing policy can weed out the potential issues from the offset. Whilst you are ensuring that your drivers perform safely driving at work, it is also important to consider those that drive personal vehicles for business use, as this will not alter your liability.
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