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Conducting pre-employment background checks on all your employees reduces your risk of liability from vehicle collisions.

It’s the holiday season in many parts of the world, and companies that employ or contract drivers are often busier than usual. From logistics operations delivering goods to retailers, to the Amazon and FedEx drivers delivering purchases to consumers, the roadways are super busy. And more traffic means an increased number of collisions, which can have major cost implications for your business if any of your employees are involved. So, although the Department of Transportation (DOT) doesn’t require pre-employment background checks on non-commercial drivers, our satisfied clients know that by performing these checks they avoid liability for accidents that happen on company time, premises or vehicles.

Reality of the Risks Involved

The National Safety Council estimates up to 40,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents every year. This costs employers more than $47.7 billion in direct accident-related expenses annually. Since it’s not legally necessary to conduct driving record checks on regular employees, many companies don’t realize the risks they are exposed to. To reduce these risks and combat rising costs, it’s worth it to investigate your employees’ driving histories.

For example, if a staff person has a collision while driving a company-owned vehicle, your organization could be liable if the employee has any of the following issues:

  • A former license suspension
  • Previous accidents
  • Impaired driving record
  • Speeding tickets
  • Other moving violations
  • Current substance abuse problems.

Even if the employee is driving their own vehicle but transporting goods on behalf of the company or during company time, your organization may be found liable.

Identifying Insurance Issues

Companies have various types of insurance coverage that could be impacted by problems with unchecked staff driving records. The first is the obvious risk of nonpayment for a collision or other event. This could range from the cost of replacing a company vehicle to lawsuits for injury and loss of life, either of an employee or of a member of the public. It could include private property and extensive damage to public property.

A hypothetical scenario (but by no means an impossible one) is that an unchecked employee is impaired during business hours and collides with a fuel tanker on route to a meeting. The fuel tanker explodes, the highway is damaged, and several lives are lost. The company could be held liable for the fact the employee was impaired in the first place, if he (or she) was driving a company-owned vehicle, or if they were involved in company business while on the road.

Another possible insurance issue is the cost of higher premiums, even if there haven’t been any accidents. Many insurance companies will either ask for pre-employment background checks that include driving records for all staff, or they will offer lower premiums if checks have been done.

Conducting a Driving Record Check

You can check an employee’s driving record by ordering their motor vehicle report from the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where the employee is licensed. You can get hold of a person’s individual driving record by:

  1. Asking the candidate or employee to order a driver’s abstract and provide you with a copy,
  2. Getting the applicant’s signed agreement to conduct a comprehensive pre-employment background check that includes a motor vehicle record (MVR), or
  3. Running a criminal background report to check for any driving-related convictions.

It’s important to note the employee must authorize you to get the report by signing a release form. Without a signed release, the Department of Motor Vehicles will not release a driver’s record other than to the person who owns the record.

Avoid the risks of hiring employees who shouldn’t be driving. Whether you’re employing full-time or contract workers, make sure they aren’t increasing your exposure to liability with their driving habits.

For more information on pre-employment background checks that include driving records, please contact us at +1 (800) 295-7109.

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