5 Key Reasons to Outsource Driver Employment and Drug/Alcohol History Verifications

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Verifying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) mandated requirement for attaining a three-year work history on all driver candidates is one of the biggest hiring challenges for motor carriers and companies with private fleets. By the time organizations obtain all the required information—a significant time investment for employees—the highly-valued driver may have already been hired by the competition or the organization may have hired someone with inaccurate credentials.

There are many reasons why an organization should consider engaging a background check company with expertise in the transportation industry to complete the critical task of driver employment and drug/alcohol history verifications — here are the top five:

1. Compliance with FMCSA Regulations (49 CFR Parts 382 and 391)

The FMCSA requires motor carriers and companies with private fleets to obtain a three-year work history on all job applicants. The review must also include DOT-recordable accidents and previous drug and alcohol test results.

Although previous employers are required by law to provide this information, it may be difficult to actually obtain it – especially in a timely fashion. Speed is of the essence when recruiting the best drivers to come to work for you.

Experienced background check specialists know who to call at various companies, have developed relationships in the industry, and know what questions to ask, and how to obtain the pertinent answers.

To perform efficiently, corporations should ensure that their verifications are carried out in a consistent, legal and (ideally) respectful manner. In short, to help you with your compliance efforts, turn to the professionals.

2. Alleviate Staffing Constraints

Many companies today are short staffed and employees are required to do a multitude of tasks, many outside their normal scope of job duties. By outsourcing manual verifications, organizations can free up their employees’ time, so they can concentrate on more important responsibilities, allowing for greater efficiencies.

Utilizing a third party provider adds the flexibility to increase recruiting efforts during peak hiring times or during special hiring events, without the need to hire additional staff to handle verifications.

To avoid a costly hiring mistake and to establish a stronger due diligence process, many companies opt to expand their employment verification timeframe to five years. When using a professional background check provider, this is easily accomplished without an appreciable impact on turnaround time.

3. Skilled Verifiers Are Well Versed in Getting the Job Done

DOT regulations are specific about the types of questions that must be asked and answered as part of the verification process. An experienced background check firm can help take the guesswork out of completing DOT-compliant verifications. Correctly completing DOT-compliant verifications is important, as failure to obtain proper and complete verifications may result in penalties and fines.

Sometimes internal employees doing verifications do not understand the operational side of the business. If the employee is not experienced with DOT regulations, they may not understand how to interpret the information provided to them by past employers or know how to probe for additional information that may be required to help an employer make a sound hiring decision.

4. Consistent Methodologies Help Ensure Accuracy

Candidates may not fill out job applications completely, or they may provide inaccurate or incomplete information. According to HireRight’s 2018 Transportation Spotlight Report, which surveyed thousands of HR professionals, 87% of respondents found information was misrepresented on their candidate’s job resumes or job applications. Half of the respondents noted errors in previous employment histories and 44% said drivers had omitted past employers.

Experienced background check providers who focus exclusively on employment screening services and manual verifications utilize consistent research methodologies and have proven processes to help ensure accurate and complete information.

5. Full Documentation Provided for Audits

When performing verifications, it is important to thoroughly document each attempt at contacting a previous employer and to follow-up on a consistent basis to attain the required information.

Background check companies have sophisticated systems that can contact previous employers through a variety of means and can thoroughly record each attempt in their platform so hiring managers can see the progress being made. Call history logs and driver information is documented for compliance tracking and can easily be added to your driver qualification files.

Having this information concisely compiled, documented and available for all interested parties is paramount for remaining compliant.

As noted above, conducting thorough and compliant background checks is difficult and time consuming. While the cost of hiring an outside service to verify your candidates’ employment history is a consideration, you may be surprised at how affordable the services can be. For a very reasonable cost you can free up your employees time to focus on the more valuable tasks at hand.

For more information on how HireRight can improve your organization’s efficiency, contact us.

You can also peruse our many valuable resources, including an eBook and webinar on driver retention.


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 in 2018. Dr. Simo came to HireRight with a decade of experience in the medical consulting arena. Before that he was Medical Director at 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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