Fleet owners have a lot to worry about ensuring that their drivers, their cargo, and the general public are safe when their vehicles are on the road. But you must also heed rules and regulations regarding driver compliance too.

Without proper driver compliance, your entire fleet could find itself in hot water with the powers that be in D.C. Unfortunately, working your way into a position of adequate compliance requires that all the following conditions are met. Here are 6 tips for monitoring your driver compliance.

1. Driver Qualification

It's important to have specific policies in place regarding the hiring of drivers for your business. You need to set guidelines for level of experience on the road, types of driving experience necessary, driving record, safety record, training and educational requirements, and any other policies you believe are relevant to the responsibilities and performance of your drivers. Don't forget to include an actual driving test from inception to completion to determine if the driver lives up to the expectation created on paper.

2. Background Screening

Consider investing in a service that conducts background screenings for you. Make sure the company in question complies with your state laws in the screening process. Some of the background screening you may want to consider include criminal national searches, sex offender registries, employment history, educational history, and more.

3. Employment Verification

Sometimes, this is conducted during the background screening process, but it warrants its own category based on importance as the Department of Transportation, or DOT, requires all employers to verify a minimum of three years of past employment for all drivers. You're specifically looking for information regarding the dates of employment, the position held, the locations driven, accidents, and tickets. The expectation is that you're going to verify the information provided by the driver applicant. However, if information does not match the driver's claims or the company refuses to release the verifying data without driver consent, don't hire a driver until the issue is resolved.

4. Driver Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)

DOT requires companies to obtain a copy of each driver's motor vehicle record within 30 days of employment - though it's recommended that you do so before sending drivers on the road. This reduces risks of unwanted surprises resulting from drivers having suspended licenses or an excess of traffic tickets while the driver is actively operating one of your vehicles.

You must add an initial MVR to your drivers file within 30 days of employment with contacts made in every state in which the driver holds (or held) a permit or motor vehicle operator's license during that three year period of time. You must also obtain a new MVR for each driver each year the driver works for your company to include in the file, which must be maintained for a minimum of three years from the final date of employment.

5. Drug and Alcohol Administration

Drivers must be screened for drug and alcohol use prior to driving any vehicles for your company. You must also make a good faith effort to get copies of the driver's driving history prior to employment in order to check for the driver's drug and alcohol testing history.

6. Driver Compliance Monitoring

It's important to maintain files that are DOT compliant at all times so that you're prepared in the event of a DOT audit. This includes DOT compliant background check information and results, all necessary pre- active, and post-employment MVRs, initial screening results, and more. When records are updated regularly, and according to DOT requirements, the government is much happier with the way you conduct your business.

Despite your best efforts to verify the safe driving history of your drivers, accidents happen. That's why commercial insurance is critical for all businesses with fleets, large or small. Commercial fleet insurance does not prevent accidents from happening, but it does help your business pick up the pieces when they do.

Contact a Transportation advisor today.