What Does a Background Check for Transportation Look Like? 24 Sep 2018


The transportation industry has grown considerably in recent years and continues to grow at a rapid pace. The trucking industry, for example, made $700 billion in 2017, and the ridesharing industry (companies like Uber and Lyft) is expected to grow to $285 billion by 2030. To keep up with demand, companies have to maintain a steady stream of new drivers.

Unfortunately, there are many challenges to hiring new drivers. One of the most important is safety concerns, especially when you consider that there are around 500,000 accidents involving semi-trucks each year. Many rideshare drivers have also been in accidents because of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. How can you avoid this problem?

The obvious answer is to hire safe drivers, but that’s easier said than done. In this article, you’ll learn how running background checks can help you hire a safe driver, and run legally compliant background checks.

Why Does the Transportation Industry Need Background Checks?

Safety is the number one concern for the transportation industry, and the first step to having safe drivers is running background checks on new hires. This step ensures that new hires have the driving and work experience they need for the job. It also shows if they have any driving infractions that could carry over into their new job. In the case of ridesharing, it shows if the driver was convicted of any violent crimes that would make them unsafe to transport people.

Certain background checks are also required by law. For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that semi-truck drivers be tested for drug and alcohol use before they’re hired. Although the DOT drug panel tests multiple drugs, many companies perform extra tests to ensure their employees are not driving impaired.

Another reason the trucking industry needs background checks is that the goods they deliver are worth a lot of money. If this merchandise is lost, damaged, or stolen, your business will be liable for the lost profit. Checking your new hire’s criminal past ensures the products they deliver are in good hands.

In recent years, ridesharing apps have become mainstream. But understandably, many have safety concerns about having a stranger drive them around. That’s why drivers for these companies need to be thoroughly vetted. But what background checks are needed to ensure that drivers are safe and able to do their job?

What Background Checks Does the Transportation Industry Require?

Student driver and examiner in car during license test

There are multiple background checks that are either required by law or important for the industry. Below are some of the most important background checks for the transportation industry.

  • Driver’s license and driving record check. Running a driver’s license background check shows if they’re licensed and certified to drive a semi-truck legally. In addition, checking their driving record shows if they have any infractions that may disqualify them from operating a semi-truck, such as a DWI. People who want to drive for Uber and Lyft need one year of driving experience and can’t have any major driving infractions in the last couple of years.
  • Drug and alcohol testing. The Department of Transportation requires that individuals be tested for drug and alcohol use before they can be hired as semi-truck drivers. The required panel includes marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and PCP, but many companies test for other drugs as well.
  • Criminal background check. A criminal background check looks for any convictions that someone has on their record. For example, many companies require that a specific period of time pass after a felony before an individual can be hired. Also, rideshare companies will not hire people if their background checks turn up violent crime convictions such as sexual assault.
  • Employment verification. In a survey done by CareerBuilder 56%, of hiring managers have caught applicants lying on their resume. That’s why it’s important to verify their employment history. An employment history check shows the schools the job applicant attended, the certifications they earned, and the companies they worked for.

How Can I Run a Background Check Legally?

There are many federal and state laws that dictate how background checks should be run, not to mention your industry’s specific requirements. That’s why it’s important to find a company that understands both the laws involved and your industry. Hiring the right background check company can keep you out of legal trouble and help guide you through the process.

Below are some tips to help you run legally compliant background checks.

  • Get consent for a background check from the new hire or job applicant. Create a document, separate from the application, that they can sign to give consent for the background check. Make sure to tell them you’re going to run a background and explain what kind of reports you’ll be considering.
  • Give applicants a chance to dispute findings. You should provide the job applicant with a copy of the report and give them time to dispute falsehoods or explain the results.
  • Tell the applicant if you decide not to hire them based on the background check. Let the applicant know why you chose not to hire them and give them a chance to explain if they wish.
  • Use a good background check company. As previously stated, having a good background check partner helps you stay legally complaint and helps ensure your new hires are safe.

Trusted Employees understands how background checks work and can guide you through the process of customizing them to your needs. Do you need a background check? Set up a quick call to talk about your needs.