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Background Checks 101: The Driving Records Issue

Posted by Will Thomson

driving records issue

When hiring someone, there are so many questions a recruiter has to ask. But it’s important to get all of the information you need to asses whether a candidate is a good fit for your organization. Office cultural fit is becoming increasingly important, and the skills needed to do different jobs are becoming more and more specialized. The often overlooked, mundane questions are the ones that can actually cause problems. And while reference checks are a “nice to have,” background checks are often mandatory.

Criminal records, work history, and education are the things that are most often checked. But what about driving records? If you’re not checking them yet, maybe it should become part of your hiring policy. Sure, you can ask about it in the interview process, but is that enough? There are some jobs that require a lot of driving; truck drivers, delivery drivers, and salespeople use cars every day. But what about your other employees? Do you need to be concerned about their driving records? Sure, you do! Our roads are becoming more congested every day. Cities are growing and expanding in every direction. It is not uncommon for someone to commute 30 minutes or an hour to get to work. In cities like New York or Chicago you may not need a car, but for almost every other city in America, a car is a part of life.

Mitigating risk is the main reason for checking someone’s driving record. You want to employ honest, reliable, and ethical individuals. And you want to avoid negligent hiring, on-the-job accidents, and potentially catastrophic events. There are times when candidates may say they have a driver’s license, but you find out later that it’s been suspended or they don’t have one at all.

What can you learn from someone’s driving record?

First of all, you can tell how responsible a candidate is. While having a DWI may not prevent a hire every time, if someone has drinking and driving on their record, you know they may not be as responsible as someone who doesn’t. Some people by nature aren’t great drivers, but others are just careless. If someone has been in multiple accidents, it may be more of a risk to employ that person. Secondly, as mentioned before, you can find out if someone’s license has been suspended. Licenses can be suspended for a number of reasons, but it can help you understand what kind of employee you are getting. Lastly, a driving record can tell you if the person is able to do the job. If the job requires driving and a candidate does not have a good driving record or a license, they are unable to do the essential functions of the job and you should not hire them.

A poor driving record can also say a number of other things about an individual. If someone has multiple speeding tickets, then they may be reckless and lack the ability to pay attention to details. Simply not paying attention to the speed limits or ignoring the law can raise a red flag. Would you want someone who is reckless or lacks attention to detail in your organization? On the flip side of that coin, a clear driving record can also say a number of things. It could mean absolutely nothing if the person simply doesn’t drive a lot. It can, however, mean you’d have one less concern about hiring them.

If the job depends on driving, would you want an individual with a bad driving record representing your organization? What if your employee is a salesperson and goes on client visits? Think about the liability involved if a salesperson were to injure a client while driving them to lunch. Something else to think about is that if someone has a reckless driving record, they may be reckless about other things like maintaining their vehicle. Sounds funny? Not at all. If your car is a mess, you could make a bad impression on a potential client.

And what if you’re hiring a truck driver? These kinds of jobs require specific licenses and often need special insurance coverage. If your truck driver is on the road and harms another individual, there are huge liability issues. You have to make sure that their license is valid and they are responsible drivers. You don’t want to have a bad truck driver represent your company poorly.

In conclusion, it’s very important to check the driving record of your employees. It says a lot about the character of the employee and whether he or she is able to do the job. A driving record can tell you a lot about how someone’s behavior will be in the workplace.

What is your company’s stance on checking driving records? If you don’t have a policy on this, you should!

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About Will Thomson

Author

Will Thomson is from Austin, Texas, and has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He is the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter for Rosetta Stone, and is the Founder of Bulls Eye Recruiting. Will received his undergraduate degree from The University of Mississippi, and his master’s degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin.

9 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Karla November, 08, 2014

    If the job description requires a driver’s license, I find it crucial to check on a candidate’s driving records during the employment screening background check because it gives me the information I need to choose the right candidate. This is how I have confidence that our company’s drivers have the right credentials for the job. I want to hire drivers that don’t have major incidents on their driving records.

  • Holli Evans November, 10, 2014

    Checking a candidate’s background through their driving records may be necessary during the hiring process. The driving record can provide many insights about potential candidates, such as problems with drugs or alcohol, irresponsibility, or dangerous driving habits. The last bit of information interests me when it comes to hiring a driver, but the other aspects are useful to consider when I hire for any position.

  • Sarah Howard November, 11, 2014

    I don’t find it useful to check the driving background of all employees if this skill is not specified in the job description. If someone had an accident or a major incident, it does not mean that he or she can’t be a good employee for your company. You can’t know all the details of that incident, or whether that specific incident changed that person in a positive way. I find this type of background check very superficial, and I do not agree with it. I don’t want to work with robots that are doing everything perfectly. I want a human with good and bad parts.

  • Darrel Tyre November, 13, 2014

    I see someone’s driving record as a record of responsibility. Nowadays, driving has become something that people take for granted. Analyzing someone’s driving behavior can be a powerful way to find out what kind of employee he or she would be. From my point of view, every recruiter should consider candidates from every angle, especially when you want the best employees for your company.

  • andrea June, 06, 2017

    Can I check a driver License before I interview? I live in Florida.

    Thanks

  • Eric Friedman June, 08, 2017

    Yes, you should check a driver license before you interview, especially if the job requires driving, such as a salesperson, inspector or delivery worker. If an employee is involved in a car accident and is driving during work hours for the company, the employer would have to pay the medical bills, the costs of repairing or replacing damaged vehicles, as well as potential lawsuits from third parties. By obtaining a copy of a potential employee’s motor vehicle record, this can rule out any unsafe drivers.

  • Nathan B July, 05, 2017

    Now all professionals say “that your personal life and professional life should be kept separate, and to not mix them”. If a company wants to hire an individual based on there personal life, where is the separation. I understand verifying someone’s drivers license, but that should be the extent of it. The rest should be determined based on past employers, experience, and legit references. I’ve seen the hundreds of times, an employee needs to leave early because they need to do something for a family member. They are told by there employer “you need to keep your work life and personal life seperate, or you could be at risk of loosing this position ” But you want to hire a person based on that same personal life you just told them to keep seperate. Everyone goes thru rough seasons; divorce, unemployment, a death to a loved one, depression, etc. So because someone went thru a divorce and there spouse completely destroyed there credit, and possibly wracked up unpaid parking tickets that were unknown to the person, therefore leading to a suspended license they were unaware of. So this persons professional life and experience is everything an employer is looking for, but due to a rough season in there personal life they shouldn’t be hired?…..Yea I’m going to have to disagree with this method, not entirely but for the most part. There is no such thing as “Personal Life” anymore. An employer should have every right to run a past employment background check, as well as the right to speak with past employers. They should have the right to validate a drivers license if need be, even if they want to make sure the person is not a sex offender or criminal for certain positions. Once you break the law that part of your personal life has been given up and Is no longer personal. That is all an employer should be able to do.

  • read this article August, 10, 2017

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