The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all commercial drivers and the qualifications they must meet to operate large vehicles on our roadways. This agency requires that trucking companies conduct proper background checks and ensure prospective employees have basic qualifications before hiring them as drivers. However, in 2014, the FMCSA reported that 3,978 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. When a trucking company fails to make these background checks, it can result in catastrophic accidents—for which trucking companies can be held liable.
The Basics of Safe Hiring
Trucking companies have a duty to ensure safety across all components of their business, and safety begins with the people who do the work. Because not just anyone can be a large-truck driver, trucking companies must ensure they employ only fit and safe drivers. However, trucking companies may be negligent in one or more of the following safe hiring practices when considering a potential driver:
- Conducting background checks. The FMCSA requires that a trucking company check a potential employee’s past three commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), check his employment for the past three years, run local and national criminal background checks, and verify the validity of his social security number. Any findings that show the candidate unfit for employment should disqualify him immediately.
- Ensuring basic qualifications. After a driver passes initial screenings, the hiring company should examine motor vehicle records (MVRs) from each state in which the driver held a CDL. Each candidate should also undergo the pre-employment screening program by the FMCSA, which pulls up the past five years of crash reports and the past three of roadside inspections. Additionally, each candidate should undergo medical testing by an FMCSA-registered doctor to ensure physical readiness for driving,
- Performing alcohol and drug tests. Before an offer of employment is made, a candidate must show a negative drug test. Even after employment, employers must conduct ongoing random drug tests, a test for alcohol and drugs right after a crash, and a test for drugs and alcohol if any reasonable suspicion arises that a driver is under the influence.
Find Knowledgeable Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, and you suspect negligence in hiring may be to blame, call a lawyer today. The attorneys at Duffy & Feemster have proudly served Georgia residents for decades. If you have questions or are ready to get started on your case, visit us at our conveniently located Savannah office, or give us a call at 888-707-1197.