Five steps to hire the right driver

Hiring the wrong driver can expose your company to severe losses.

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Remember the old saying “look twice before crossing the road?” That maxim is doubly true when hiring a new driver. If you don’t take proper care and precaution, hiring the wrong driver can expose your company to severe losses.

Consider these examples:

  • A co-op manager hires a new driver and doesn’t check the driver’s motor vehicle report (MVR), which states the driver had a prior record of driving under the influence. Two weeks later, the driver causes an accident in the co-op’s vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
  • A convenience store owner hires an independent trucker to haul for hire. Soon thereafter, the driver gets into an accident, the petroleum being hauled leaks into a nearby stream, and the cost of the accident and pollution cleanup expenses exceed the driver’s limit on insurance. As a result, the c-store owner is held accountable for the remaining costs.
  • An independent trucker for a feed manufacturer causes an accident, injuring himself and killing one person. The driver does not have insurance and the feed manufacturer is sued by the victim’s family for damages. The feed manufacturer also must cover the medical costs of the driver under its workers compensation program.

Whether you hire directly or engage an independent trucking firm, these points can help limit your potential losses and protect you and your assets:

  1. Consult with your attorney to determine if you can request a drug test
  2. Check the candidate’s MVR
  3. Require each driver or firm to sign a contract before hiring him/her; consult your attorney regarding transfers of liability to the driver or firm; clarify the driver is an independent contractor and not an employee; and outline your specific insurance requirements, including required limits of insurance, coverages and certificates of insurance
  4. If you use an independent trucking firm, partner with a reputable company that hires good drivers and properly maintains its vehicles
  5. Require a certificate of insurance before hiring a trucking firm. The certificate should identify policies, coverages, limits and effective dates

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