How due diligence pays dividends when hiring drivers


Selecting qualified and reliable drivers is one of the important decisions a motor carrier can make. Ensuring the safe and on-time delivery of freight has a direct impact on the company’s survivability, so deciding which applicants will be entrusted with the company’s future should not be taken lightly.

Herein lies the danger of improperly vetting job candidates. It would be imprudent for a motor carrier to hire a driver on word-of-mouth recommendations alone or without conducting proper background checks, road tests, and personal interviews. It may expose the company to potential losses and possible claims of negligent hiring. To further this point, here are some examples of how proper due diligence can benefit motor carriers.


Road testing applicants is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The goal of an impartial road test is to observe the applicant’s abilities, both behind the wheel and around the truck, to determine if they can safely perform the essential functions of the job. Using an experienced and trusted evaluator to conduct the road test gives motor carriers visible confirmation of whether a candidate meets these requirements. And while the employer may accept a CDL in lieu of conducting a road test, that is an avoidable risk. Observing a candidate behind the wheel, operating job-specific equipment, can offer a precise evaluation of their skills.


Background checks, personal interviews, and road tests can help bring to light any red flags that may indicate a candidate is not suitable for a position or the company. Gaps in employment history on the application or not wearing a seatbelt during the road test are examples of red flags that may deserve further scrutiny.

“Accidents involving poorly screened drivers can lead to negative publicity and damage the company’s brand image.”



Due diligence can also help reduce turnover. Check the applicant’s resume for habitual job hopping. It may be worth addressing in the interview. Likewise, querying the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse may reveal a history of positive drug or alcohol tests or even a refusal to test, which may disqualify the candidate. On the flipside, many long-haul motor carriers invite the candidate’s spouse in during the final interview before an official job offer is extended. This is done to ensure they completely understand the job’s demands, including extended periods away from home. It is also an opportunity to share with the spouse how the company will support them while the driver is away.


The FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program provides motor carriers with a driver’s history of regulatory compliance violations, moving violations, and crashes. Suppose a candidate has a history of not taking care of equipment and exhibiting risky driving behaviors, such as an excessive speeding violation. In that case, they may run a higher risk of being involved in an incident. These business interruptions cost money, so hiring reliable, safety-minded drivers can help maintain operational efficiency.


Hiring unqualified or unreliable drivers can also harm a motor carrier’s reputation. Accidents involving poorly screened drivers can lead to negative publicity and damage the company’s brand image. Customers and partners may lose trust in the company’s ability to safely transport goods, leading to a loss of business. For these reasons and others, taking the time to give driver selection due diligence can pay big dividends in the long run and give the motor carrier peace of mind that its drivers are upholding the company’s safety standards.

Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.


  • Give due diligence to your hiring and selection practices.


The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.

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