Avoid the high cost of sidelined drivers

How to avoid the high cost of out-of-compliance drivers

In the trucking industry, it’s critical to keep your drivers moving, especially when hauling time-sensitive freight such as produce, perishables and prescription drugs. If your drivers are pulled over for a violation, or if they can’t pass inspection at a weigh station, the freight can’t move.

In some situations, you may be on the hook for purchasing the entire trailer of perishables if the load isn’t delivered fresh and on time.

To keep your time-sensitive freight moving, you need to keep your drivers on the road – safely – so they’re not sidelined by unnecessary violations. Here’s what you need to know to keep the wheels rolling and your deliveries running on-time, every time.

Hire the right drivers

Hiring qualified drivers with a clean record is essential for the successful transportation of time-sensitive goods. This process should start with a rigorous pre-employment screening process that includes a criminal history and background check, as well as drug and alcohol testing.

You also must run full queries on them in the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which acts as another layer in a high-quality background check. With this critical information, hiring managers can gain the insights they need to hire the best candidates for your time-sensitive loads.

Conduct regular background checks

After a driver is hired and cleared through the pre-employment screening process, the DOT requires companies to run a limited query once a year for every driver in their fleet. This ensures drivers are still qualified and eligible to drive your perishable loads.

Regularly – and randomly – screen drivers

Drug and alcohol testing capabilities are the cornerstones of an effective DOT compliance program. The DOT requires companies to test 50% of drivers for drugs and 10% of drivers for alcohol in random testing pools.

Companies can choose to test pools monthly or quarterly; the DOT allows companies to finalize all testing by December 31st of each year. In addition, a random drug and alcohol testing program should be implemented to ensure drivers can safely transport time-sensitive freight.

Stay up-to-date on regulations

In early 2020, the FMCSA announced an increase in the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substance testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). It increased the average number of driver positions from 25% to 50%. If you’re not following these new guidelines, your fleet and your freight could be in trouble.

Make sure your Driver Qualification files are up-to-date

Driver qualification (DQ) requirements mandate that every CDL driver has a DQ file easily accessible by an auditor. This file must contain multiple pieces of information, including:

  • A federal medical certificate,
  • The driver’s job application,
  • DOT work history,
  • A drug and alcohol safety questionnaire,
  • Hours of service questionnaire,
  • A copy of the driver’s license,
  • Background screening results, and
  • The results of a pre-employment drug and alcohol test

If your drivers’ DQ files aren’t up-to-date, your freight will get stalled. That’s where a centralized DOT compliance software system can help you track data in real time to ensure that their information is kept up-to-date and accurate, so your drivers are never left waiting on the pavement.

Inspect your equipment

Managing your fleet’s equipment is just as important as managing your drivers. Managers need to track your fleet’s annual inspections and ensure that the required International Registration Program (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) are updated annually. Again, a centralized DOT compliance software system can help manage these elements so your trucks aren’t pulled over for equipment issues and violations.

Skip the scale

If you want to guarantee your fleet’s safety record and on-time delivery, PrePass is essential for your business. PrePass keeps qualified fleets safely on the move by enabling them to bypass hundreds of weigh stations, ports of entry and agricultural inspection facilities across the nation.

Hire a TPA

Partnering with a third-party administrator (TPA) that has the expertise and a history of successful DOT compliance is the best way to make sure your drivers and equipment are always ready to roll.

The right TPA can help you hire the best drivers, manage your driving pool, handle shipment documentation and leverage technology to help you deliver shipments on-time, every time.

Make sure your company delivers on time, every time. Contact Noble Diagnostics to discuss your needs today.

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