What are the Most Commonly Used Transportation Background Checks?

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Truck driver background checks

While most organizations involved in background screening in the transportation industry are keenly aware of the industry’s tight regulatory atmosphere and focus on safety, many employers may not be as familiar with background checks that go beyond the minimum requirements of regulating authorities.

The HireRight Transportation Spotlight reveals the employment screening best practices of transportation companies, including the most common types of background checks performed, as well as checks that go beyond the minimum requirements.

Below we’ll review the detailed findings of the Transportation Spotlight and highlight some background screening takeaways to show where employers can improve their practices.

What Are the Top Reasons for Employment Background Screening?
Compliance with regulatory authorities is the number one reason given by surveyed respondents for conducting background screening by transportation companies. Employers also listed improving the quality of hires, protecting against negligent hiring risk, protecting brand reputation and reducing turnover as the other top reasons for background screening.

How Is Background Screening Conducted?
The majority of survey respondents (fifty- four percent) indicated that their safety department is responsible for background screening regulated transportation employees. Twenty-six percent of organizations reported that they background screen within the human resources department, nine percent do so in recruiting and another nine percent in compliance.

Surprisingly, only thirteen percent of respondents reported that they currently use automated background screening processes.

Background checks for regulated employees

Source: Transportation Spotlight

Which Background Checks are Used Most?
For regulated employees, eighty-nine percent of transportation organizations surveyed reported that they check motor vehicle records, seventy-five percent check previous employment history and sixty-four percent check criminal record history and commercial driver’s license information.

What Drug Testing Methodology Is Used?
When drug testing regulated employees, eighty-nine percent of organizations reported that they use urine analysis, forty-five percent use breath alcohol, fourteen percent use saliva, six percent use blood, and three percent use hair testing.

More than half of surveyed respondents use random drug and alcohol testing and post-accident testing. Forty-seven percent of respondents use an off-site lab, while nineteen percent use an on-site lab and fifteen percent use an instant collection site.

Which Criminal Background Checks Do Employers Run?
According to the Transportation Spotlight, most transportation employers run at least one type of criminal record history background check on regulated employees. National criminal record searches are the most common, followed by county-level searches for misdemeanors and felonies, state searches and federal criminal district searches.

What Types of Health Screenings Are Used?
Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated individuals operating commercial motor vehicles must be certified as physically qualified by a medical examiner. Seventy-eight percent of surveyed respondents say they ensure the health of regulated workers using physical exams and sixty-four percent use return-to-work clearance exams. Another twenty-four percent of respondents conduct physical abilities testing.

6 Transportation Background Screening Takeaways
Based on the Transportation Spotlight,, we’ll review the implications of current background screening activities and share six ways that a employment screening solutions provider like HireRight can help employers improve their programs:

1. Facilitate Compliance
Compliance is the top reason that transportation employers use background screening. Work with an on-demand background screening provider that has developed industry-specific background screening solutions to address transportation compliance needs in accordance with federal regulations.

2. Streamline and Automate Background Screening
The Report’s survey responses indicate that transportation employers are using manual processes to background screen employees. Employers may be overlooking the comprehensive and streamlined automated screening solutions that a background screening vendor can offer. An automated solution will help to increase compliance and accuracy and decrease time-to-hire.

3. Widen the Depth and Scope of Background Checks
Transportation employers that do not run background checks are exposed to gaps in information that can let a poor or non-compliant hire slip through the cracks. An on-demand employment screening provider such as HireRight possesses background screening solutions that are comprehensive and go beyond the minimum requirements set forth by regulators, to better mitigate compliance risks and ensure the highest quality hires.

4. Leverage Advances in Drug Testing
By automating drug screening, you can establish a digital audit trail illustrating a random selection process for drug testing, which can protect against employee discrimination claims. Urine, the most common testing method and the method mandated for compliance with DOT regulations, can be adulterated and has a small time frame for detecting substances.

By layering hair testing on top of other drug screening methods, a much larger time frame for detecting illicit substances is used and it helps to prevent workers from falsifying results.

5. Run All Possible Criminal Background Checks
According to the Transportation Spotlight, twenty-one percent of transportation employers do not run criminal record history background checks for regulated employees. Using an automated background screening provider’s solutions, employers can check a national criminal database that verifies any potential “hits” at the county level.

In addition, statewide background checks are also available. Companies conducting piecemeal criminal background checks can also benefit from updating to a more comprehensive, automated solution.

6. Strengthen Health Screening
To streamline and improve the health screening process for transportation employers, leading background screening providers offer in-house Medical Review Officers who can help ensure the completeness and compliance of physical exams.

How do your organization’s transportation background screening practices compare against those of your peers?

Free Report: Transportation Spotlight
Free background screening report
Learn the employment background checking best practices of leading transportation companies by downloading:

HireRight Transportation Spotlight

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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