Driver Monitoring – More Effective Than Annual Motor Vehicle Record Checks

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Driver Monitoring

Are you waiting until your next motor vehicle record check to find out how your commercial drivers are performing? What about the other 364 days of the year? Gaps between annual MVR checks could expose your company to considerable risk.

When you employ a professional truck driver, there’s a certain level of comfort and trust you must have in their competence to drive. After all, drivers are not under your immediate purview while out on the road. You have to trust they’ll drive safely, follow your rules and processes, and report any issues. But operating on trust alone increases your company’s exposure to risk, especially when it comes to safety and compliance.

For instance, how quickly would you learn if one of your drivers was operating with a suspended CDL? Or if a driver has had a DUI within the past four months? What if one of your drivers, who has known medical issues, failed to get his medical certification renewed months ago?

You can’t always be certain that drivers will inform you of these issues. That’s why many companies are turning to continuous driver record monitoring solutions. Your ability to quickly identify new citations, unlicensed and high-risk drivers each month can be an effective tool for helping to reduce fines and accidents — and the potential costs associated with litigation, settlements or judgments.

What is driving record monitoring?

While the U.S. Department of Transportation requires commercial fleet operators to review MVRs once a year, many companies know that’s just not enough to reduce risk, and wisely choose to do more frequent checks across multiple data sources. The trouble is, compiling and pouring through MVRs and other records manually is an extremely time-consuming, labor-intensive process.

Driver-monitoring solutions analyze state licensing agency data and alert customers whenever new information is uploaded to the driver’s account (e.g. license suspension, downgrades/revocations, moving violations, accidents, DUI/DWI convictions, invalid licenses), allowing companies to take swifter action to remove unlicensed or unsafe drivers from the road. For companies that are subject to federal and/or state motor carrier safety regulations, these driver-monitoring services offer additional reporting functionality that identifies license and medical card expiration dates.

How does driver monitoring work?

To begin a driver monitoring program, a company must order a new MVR for all of their drivers to serve as the baseline record. That is why starting your program when you order annual review MVRs is ideal, since this MVR can serve as your baseline MVR.

After establishing the baseline data on your drivers, the driver monitoring service will continually review and compare information received from state licensing agencies. You will receive email alerts when something changes on your driver’s motor vehicle record.

Each month concise reports identify new citations that alert you to the most critical driver behavior issues. Not only does this save you time in not having to conduct a zero-sum analysis every time you wish to review a driver’s record, it also enables you to focus your attention on only the drivers that need it, not the ones you don’t have to worry about.

What are the key benefits of driver monitoring?

  • Enhances decision making: Having accurate information about your drivers helps you make smart staffing decisions. You can take immediate action to address any potential problems.
  • Reduces out of service orders: By receiving alerts that a driver’s CDL has not been renewed or has been downgraded before dispatching a driver allows you to avoid a roadside out-of-service order, which could cost thousands of dollars in fines.
  • Improves CSA scores: Good Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores impact your fleet’s safety ratings, potentially reducing insurance costs while also serving as a competitive differentiator.
  • Helps eliminate surprises: Continuously monitoring your drivers means you’re not in the dark about issues that can impact your business.

Motor carriers spend a great deal of time, money and effort recruiting, screening, hiring and training qualified drivers. But assessing your drivers’ fitness for the job should never be a one and done; it’s an ongoing responsibility. You can protect your recruiting and hiring investments – as well as your business – by using continuous driver monitoring to ensure your drivers stay qualified for the long haul.

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Dr. Todd Simo

Dr. Simo is the Chief Medical Officer and the Managing Director of Transportation at HireRight. He served as HireRight’s medical director starting in 2009 and was promoted to chief medical officer in 2015. Dr. Simo was also appointed to the role of managing director of transportation and drug & health screening in 2018. Dr. Simo came to HireRight with a decade of experience in the medical consulting arena. Before that he was the medical director for an occupational health clinic in Virginia and owned a consulting firm providing medical director services to employers across the United States

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