What to Expect from an Employment Background Check

When you’re looking for a new trucking job, reputable hiring companies will likely run a background check before hiring you. Having a proper background check is crucial in ensuring only the safest operators are on the road. So what does an employee background check entail?

Application for Employment

Each employer can develop an employment application that is tailored to their specific needs. At a minimum, the form must contain specific information specified in §391.21(b) by the FMCSA.

The basic information required must contain the following:

(1) The name and address of the employing motor carrier

(2) The applicant’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number

(3) The addresses at which the applicant has resided during the three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted

(4) The date on which the application is submitted

Current CDLs: Each application must also include your current CDLs and the expiration date of each unexpired license or permit that has been issued to you.

Experience: The nature and extent of your experience in the operation of motor vehicles must be included. This includes any type of equipment such as trucks, truck tractors, semitrailers, full trailers, pole trailers, and buses that you have operated, as well as time hauling certain specialized equipment.

Accidents: If you have been involved in any motor vehicle accidents during the three years preceding the date the application is submitted, you must specify the date and nature of each accident and any fatalities or personal injuries it caused.

Violations: Any violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances during the three years preceding the date the application is submitted must also be included.

Employment History: A list of both the names and addresses of your former employment, along with the reason for leaving, should be incorporated.

Prior to obtaining your CLP, the past ten years of your driving record will be reviewed and the information gathered may include:

  • Driving history (state designates how far back the history is required)
  • Speeding or other moving violations
  • Chargeable accidents
  • DUI offenses
  • Suspension or revocations
  • Accumulation of points

Trucking At Night Versus During The Day – What Should Your Strategy Be?

Pros of Driving at Night

Traffic is the number one reason most truck drivers prefer to drive at night. The extended periods of sitting still while waiting for traffic to move along can cause stress to even the most relaxed drivers. Avoiding being stuck in traffic or commuting through rush hour is definitely a major advantage of driving at night. The major downside though is if you stop too late during your break as a night time driver, truck stops might be completely full. Fortunately, when you’re pulling in to stop during the early morning, most drivers are leaving for the day, so there’s rarely a shortage of parking.

Pros of Driving During the Day

Many drivers prefer driving during the daytime because it fits our natural circadian rhythms. Most people are programmed to be awake during the daytime. It’s also easier to see traffic conditions, potential driving hazards, and what’s going on down the road.

Truck Parking

If you rely on parking at truck stops, it’s best to get there early in the day. They can get very busy, especially near particularly busy areas such as major cities or anywhere in the North East. Finding a place to park your truck to rest is a huge issue for truckers, so be sure to plan ahead no matter if you’re driving during the day or night.

Flexible Schedule

Most truckers have a preference whether they like to drive during the day or night. The ability to be flexible mostly depends on what kind of cargo you’re hauling. For example, hauling refrigerated cargo means you have to get it to your destination within a certain time period.

Trucking Industry Competition

Clients look for drivers that can adapt to their circumstances and drive in many conditions. Learning to adapt will get you much further, especially during less than ideal circumstances.

Traffic

Planning is a key factor in trucking, no matter what time you’re driving. If you have to drive anywhere near a major city during the day, you’re going to be spending time sitting in traffic. Planning your route and stops around traffic patterns where you’ll be driving will make all the difference.

Common Trucking Industry Challenges

 

Challenge: Fuel Costs

One of the biggest challenges to overcome in the trucking industry is fuel costs. When a trucking business is trying to create a budget, it can be nearly impossible to accurately predict fuel prices, especially a year in advance. Fuel is one of the largest expenses and the price fluctuates constantly.

How to Overcome the Challenge of Fuel Costs

You can’t do anything to change the price of fuel, but you can reduce the amount you use. Start by researching fuel-saving technologies and creative strategies such as more fuel-efficient trucks, adjusting your routes, and mandatory speed limits. Look for opportunities for fuel reduction, making the costs of fuel more manageable.


Challenge: Changing Regulations

Most regulations are created to address commercial driver and motorist safety. New or revised regulations can come from federal government, or enacted by state, county, and municipal governments. These regulation changes can bring new challenges, forcing drivers and companies to adjust their operations.

How to Overcome the Challenge of Regulation Changes

The best thing you can do is to stay ahead of the new regulations. Be on top of the upcoming changes so you’re not caught off guard. Most regulations will have grace periods, allowing you to prepare, so take advantage of that time to change what you need to. Follow trucking industry news blogs to stay on top of the changes.


Challenge: Driver Safety

Above all else, your number one goal should be to make sure that you, or the truckers that work for you, are safe drivers. Eliminating preventable accidents is a neverending challenge.

How to Overcome the Challenge of Driver Safety

To ensure safety within your company, use safety education programs, analytics, and technology to create a safe environment and hold drivers accountable. Make sure your drivers know and understand all of the safety rules and regulations within the company.

Time Management Tips for Truck Drivers

1. Plan Ahead

An important time management tool is planning. You’ll want to set goals for how many miles you want to cover every day. However, it’s also important to realize that you must be ready to adapt if something changes. You can even use online discussion boards or trucking apps to get input about what areas you’ll be visiting. Use other trucker’s experiences to help you plan ahead.

2. Avoid Heavy Traffic Whenever Possible

Planning ahead and scheduling your runs around traffic will help you greatly. If you think you’re going to be passing through a major city during rush hour, it might be better to plan your arrival for before or after rush hour traffic. This doesn’t always work, but your odds are better when you watch out for traffic patterns and plan accordingly.

3. Stay Ahead of Your Schedule: Load and Unload Bright and Early

Veterans of the trucking industry understand that they have to load and unload their cargo ahead of schedule if they want to get to their destination on time. Reduce your stress levels knowing that you have plenty of time to finish your route in case you run into unexpected traffic or emergencies. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll have extra time to rest or enjoy a little time off. You’ll also impress your trucking company and customers with your communication and ability to deliver ahead of time.

4. Pace Yourself

While it’s good to stay ahead of your schedule, be sure you pace yourself. It’s so important to get proper rest and nutrition. Be sure to take the time your body needs to sleep, eat, and exercise. Don’t keep pushing through your exhaustion.

When it comes to time management in the trucking industry, remember to plan ahead, avoid traffic, learn how to pace yourself, and give yourself plenty of time for your journey.