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How truck companies can prevent unqualified drivers

Trucking is a dangerous job -- which means that trucking companies should do everything they can to avoid putting an unqualified or inexperienced driver behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, as consumer demand for shipping increases and more truckers age out of the system, companies sometimes fail to take the necessary steps to make sure that their drivers are safe.

What should a trucking company be doing to prevent themselves from putting an unqualified driver on the road?

1. Have written hiring policies for managers to follow.

A written policy that your managers are required to follow when hiring new drivers does two things. First, it gives managers a checklist to follow that will make sure that safety steps don't get skipped by accident. Second, it will keep managers from relaxing the usual rules when there's a severe shortage of drivers.

2. Do a background check on any newly-hired drivers.

A motor vehicle report (MVR) should be pulled to look at a driver's record before he or she is hired. A pre-employment screening program (PSP) also allows you to look at the driver's safety record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Overlooking either of these things is a serious safety lapse.

3. Be responsive to complaints or concerns.

If someone calls in a complaint about a driver or a co-worker expresses concern, a trucking company should take immediate action to address the issue. Letting an employee with obvious health concerns, anger management issues, or problem driving behaviors stay on the road could open a company up to charges of negligent retention.

4. Offer retraining whenever appropriate.

No job stays totally static over time. When the job changes or there's a sign that a driver is struggling, it's time to take corrective action. Companies have a responsibility to make sure that their drivers are sufficiently trained for the job.

Doing everything you can to reduce truck accidents caused by unqualified drivers is the best way to invest in your trucking company.

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