Non-Regulated Drivers Carry Potential Liability, Too - Minimize Risk with Best Practices

Mark Schedler, Sr. Transport Management Editor

October 12, 2022

 Van on road

Any person operating a vehicle (regulated or non-regulated) for the company carries liability. Risk exists whether the vehicle is owned by the person, company-owned, leased, or rented.

How do you scrutinize and train drivers that operate vehicles not regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the state?

Even when regulations do not apply, driver qualification and safety best practices can mitigate risk.

Establish criteria for job requirements and training for anyone allowed to operate a vehicle on company business. The qualifications should apply to the hiring process and after-hire to ensure they still meet your safety criteria.

Caution: Legal counsel and human resources should review the driver vetting process in addition to your insurance company.

Items to consider in your non-regulated driver qualification and safety training policy and procedures:

  • Qualification and training file with documents such as:
    • Application listing prior employment, accidents, and moving violation history;
    • Interview for screening of job fit;
    • Written consent to investigate the person’s background;
    • Medical exam determination to confirm that no conditions exist (poor vision or hearing, seizures, etc.) that would prohibit a person from safely operating a vehicle;
      • Privacy laws protect personal medical information details from an exam.
      • Any medical review should be done post-job offer in most circumstances.
    • Motor vehicle records (MVRs) from any state or province where the driver held a license in the past three years;
      • Confirm there is only one active license from a single licensing authority.
    • Vehicle operator’s license, copy of front and back;
    • Criminal history checks must be legal in the state where the driver is employed;
    • Drug and alcohol test results if warranted by the role and allowed by law.
    • Ongoing MVR monitoring or at least semi-annual MVRs reviewed and documented;
    • Road test certificate and evaluation to assess safe driving habits, knowledge of traffic laws, and attitude;
      • Documentation that the employee received training to correct any defects noted during the initial road test.
    • Training certificates for all company-administered or third-party safety training;
    • Safe driver certificate signed by the employee agreeing to:
      • No driving if license privileges are suspended or revoked.
      • No unauthorized passengers.
      • Inspecting the vehicle, reporting and getting defects corrected.
      • Obeying traffic laws, using seat belts, no cell phone use, and safe driving.
      • No use of radar detectors.
      • Report all traffic incidents, accidents, or damage.
    • Training on the following subjects:
      • Defensive driving
      • Fatigue management and the value of sufficient, quality sleep
      • Vehicle inspection and safety defect reporting
      • Non-DOT Drug and alcohol policy (if applicable)
      • Progressive discipline and corrective action policy

A severe injury or fatality crash involving negligence in hiring or ongoing supervision of non-regulated drivers can cost millions. Invest in qualification and training best practices to protect your company.

Learn more about how J. J. Keller can help with Training Program Management or call 888.473.4638 for more information.

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Hiring the right drivers and ensuring they also comply with driver qualification regulations is critical for the successful — and safe — operation of your company’s fleet. This free, 13-page e-book gives you an easy-to-understand summary of the requirements you must comply with, and even shows how J. J. Keller can help. 

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