The crash on route 79 in Fall River last Sunday has raised a lot of questions about how CDL licenses are obtained in Massachusetts, and how companies can go about hiring safe, qualified CDL drivers to avoid catastrophes like we saw in Fall River. The driver of the truck involved had several violations on his driving record, as well as a drug distribution charge that temporarily suspended his license in the past. Obviously, certain types of violations ought to carry more weight than others, but incidents like this crash serve to highlight issues surrounding safety policy, and the importance of taking an overall assessment of a candidate for a drivers position.
As I discuss in the article in the Taunton Gazette last week, most companies now do background checks on potential drivers, beyond the anticipated driving record check. At Dennis K Burke, we look at a candidates 10 year driving history for any infractions that would indicate habitual unsafe driving. Its also important to check references listed on applications, for any position, but especially a CDL driver. Any gaps in employment should be evaluated as well, to ensure a gap in work history was not due to a suspension or infraction as was the case with the driver involved in the Fall River accident.
(You can Read the Story in the Taunton Gazette here - it does a really great job explaining a lot of the rules and regulations related to CDLs in Massachusetts)
A new approach we also use, in keeping up with the changing ways people share and interact now is checking social media. Generally, social media accounts are harmless, fun ways for people to stay in touch but on occassion they can raise a red flag, much the way they would for a prospective university, job, etc. Its easy to overlook social media as a valuable tool to learn more about an applicant, but I think doing so is a mistake. People live their lives online now, for better or for worse, and by skipping out on social media, you skip out on an easy avenue to get a general feel for who someone is and how they will fit with your organization. Its free, it takes 5 minutes - why not give it a shot?
Speaking of Social Media - you can follow us at @DennisKBurkeInc on Twitter, or http://www.facebook.com/DennisKBurkeInc - We'd love to hear your feedback, comments and insights!