America is a country that loves it's lawsuits, and the trucking industry is not immune to those trends. From the one hundred million dollar settlement paid by Walmart in 2014, to the regular 15 million dollar verdicts we see in the media, monster jury verdicts arising from accidents with motor carriers are becoming more common every year. It's gotten so bad that some insurers are getting out of the trucking business entirely, and others are jacking up premiums to unsustainable levels. Even a single accident is enough to push a carrier out of business with rising premiums. But how can you protect your business and stay on the right side of the regs? Here we've got three actionable ways you can hire better truckers with less liability.
1. Implement driver predictive analytics
Driver predictive analytics platforms are part of a new breed of software that uses truck telematics data to spot driver problems before they grow into crises. Though these programs are new, they have already shown impressive results for reducing accidents and driver stress. By taking data like accelerator readings, hard breaking incidents, and even a driver's grip on the steering wheel into account, not to mention many other variables, this software automatically identifies drivers that are stressed out or who are driving unsafely. And in most cases, they plug right into your electronic logbook software so that no new hardware is required. Companies like Omnitracs provide some of the newest software in this niche. This is still a young industry, but we will see substantial growth in coming years as technology is always improving.
2. Run Comprehensive Driver Background Checks
When you read this, you may be thinking to yourself "But doesn't the federal government already require us to run background checks?" and they do - but not enough. We all know that the DOT requires a high level of background screening for driver applications through their PSP service and required MVR/previous employer checks, but it may pay to go well beyond this. The FMCSA only requires confirmation of work history and drug test results, but external background check providers can provide much more. From DUI arrests not resulting in convictions to out-of-jurisdiction civil judgements, outside providers can provide a wealth of good information to help you make better hiring decisions.
3. Consider a lead service
Finally, one good way to get better applicants is simply to get more of them, then hire only the best. For this you need an applicant lead service. These are expensive - reputable ones can cost over $2000 per month. Still, many carriers find it well worth the money to find top quality drivers without blemishes on their record. The idea here is simple. The more applicants a recruiter has to work with, the more selective they can be. Having a ton of qualified drivers empowers recruiters to work with only the lowest risk candidates and keep their liability down.
Ultimately, it's impossible for your filtering to be perfect. No matter how much effort you put in, you will always have bad apples applying for your driver jobs. And who can blame them? With the current shortage many companies are desperate to fill trucks. And even with the best background checks and most thorough interviewing process accidents do happen. But following these few steps will make that less likely.