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Don’t get burned when adding drivers this summer

by | Jun 17, 2024 | 0 comments

Don’t get burned when adding drivers this summer

Qualification steps when adding drivers for the summer surge depend on whether they are a new hire, a rehire, or are returning from a temporary layoff. To avoid getting burned by audit violations or negligent hiring claims in post-crash litigation, start by answering these three questions for each driver:
Has the driver ever operated a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for your company?
If the driver is returning to work, was the employment relationship severed?
Did the driver remain on the roster subject to recall?
The answers to these questions determine which qualification steps apply.

1. New drivers

For drivers new to your company, build a driver’s qualification (DQ) file with the items required in 391.51 and the safety performance history (SPH) file in 391.53.
Commercial vehicle license (CDL) vehicle drivers will need:
A pre-employment drug test,
A clear Clearinghouse query, and
A signed receipt from the driver for the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol policy.
2. Rehired drivers

A returning driver, such as summer help from last year, is a rehire if they were not an employee during the break in employment.
The qualification process is nearly the same as for a new hire. However, some valid documents in the old DQ file can be used, including:
A valid medical card (for drivers that operate a vehicle not requiring a CDL),
Any SPH file information from employers in the past three years, and
A road test certificate completed less than three years prior.
Create the following new items:
DOT driver application;
Motor vehicle reports (MVRs) from each state in which the driver held a license in the prior three years;
SPH information from employers during the absence;
For CDL vehicle drivers only:
MVR with medical certification information;
DOT pre-employment negative drug test result, unless the exception in 382.301(b) and (c) applies;
Pre-employment drug screen question regarding failed tests per 40.25(j);
Signed receipt from the driver for the latest drug and alcohol policy; and
Pre-employment full Clearinghouse query (must not be in “Prohibited” status).
Retain the original DQ file for three years from the original termination date, as if the driver never returned.

3. Drivers who were temporarily laid off

If the driver was part of a temporary layoff, is still an employee, and remains in the DOT random pool (applies to CDL-vehicle drivers only), check the following items and update those that are overdue before the driver operates a CMV:
Annual MVR and review,
Proof of medical certification (as noted above for CDL and non-CDL drivers respectively),
Annual Clearinghouse query for a CDL driver if due (must not show “Prohibited”), and
Negative random drug test result (if the CDL-vehicle driver was in the latest pull and returned before the end of the current testing cycle).
Create an off-duty drug test notification policy for CDL drivers to be aware of a possible drug screen during a layoff. (It will show as a positive result if they refuse to go for the test.)
Document the layoff dates in the DQ file to make it easier to prove that the driver did not operate a CMV with missing or incomplete qualification documents.

Thanks for sharing!

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