With the new carrier rating system under Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010, it is more important than ever for carriers to regularly monitor the performance of their drivers. While ratings for individual drivers are not yet being implemented under CSA, every violation by every driver negatively impacts the carrier’s BASIC rating.
Although drivers are required to report every traffic violation within 30 days and CDL suspensions within one day, few do so because the fundamental fear of losing a job is stronger than the commitment to “play by the rules.” This puts carriers in a difficult position, having drivers on the road without full knowledge of their safety records and license status until the annual MVR review. To use an extreme example, a driver could have a major moving violation the day after his annual review and the carrier would not know about it for the next year…leaving that driver on the road as a potential liability.
Recognizing the importance of this issue, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow motor carriers to register their drivers with state licensing agencies which, in turn, would notify a trucking company when a driver receives a traffic violation, conviction or change in commercial driver’s license status. This notification process would allow trucking companies to take timely action to address any unsafe driving behaviors without the need to conduct annual motor vehicle checks. ATA is proposing establishing a mandated national Employer Notification System in which all states must participate. Clearly this is a serious concern for the trucking industry.
As a trusted partner with the ATA, HireRight has been on the leading edge of this issue since 2006, when it developed its Driver Violation Alert (DVA) program. Currently available for 30 states, with more to be added this year, DVA provides a monthly report of traffic violations and changes in CDL status (in most states) for all fleet drivers who are licensed in the covered states.
“DVA is a proactive risk-mitigation tool,” says HireRight Senior Product Manager Kim Bishop. “It enables the carrier to quickly identify potentially unsafe drivers and take corrective action or offer driver safety training. Another benefit is the reduction of the carrier’s administrative time spent monitoring driver records. Yes, it is an expense, but if it prevents a single large liability claim, it more than pays for itself.”
Carriers who are using DVA have seen substantial benefits. In a recent letter, the safety and security leader for one of HireRight’s largest customers wrote:
HireRight’s Driver Violation Alert (DVA) program has identified drivers for us that were operating on suspended licenses, drivers convicted for excessive speed and drivers convicted for not wearing their seatbelts in addition to other violations types…[This] program has become a critical part of our ongoing safety efforts and we appreciate HireRight for recognizing the need and developing a cost effective solution for monitoring our drivers’ motor vehicle records on a more frequent basis. I highly recommend that all trucking companies take a serious look at HireRight’s DVA program.
A number of states offer Employer Notification System (ENS) programs, and carriers can work directly with those states to monitor the records of their drivers who are licensed in those states. The cost of using state ENS programs varies, and the coverage is not as broad as HireRight’s DVA. States with ENS programs include Arkansas, California, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.