Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Searches Prevent Negligent Hiring Lawsuits

Running a CDLIS search is critical if you hire commercial drivers

If you hire commercial drivers, or contract independent drivers, it is critical that you run a search of the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS).

By running this search commercial drivers can’t hide previous driving infractions, accidents or any back-up driver’s licenses. And, it protects your claim with an insurance agency as most carriers will not cover a driver who has an active license in more than one state.

This CDLIS service is a cooperative exchange of commercial driver information between jurisdictions nationwide. APSCREEN runs the driver’s social security number (SSN) through all 50 state’s DMVs and reports where that SSN is on record as associated with a driver’s license.

According to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA), the basic purpose of CDLIS is to assure that commercial drivers have only one active driver’s license, one active record and have passed state-sanctioned driving skills tests, thus helping employers comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA).

In addition, if an employer hires a driver, they become eligible for the Employers Pull Notice (EPN) program available in several states which provides automatic updates at the time of an infraction.

When a company contracts with an independent driver, however, they are not qualified for the EPN program but must request that the driver provide a K3-style driving record from the DMV.

Employers may also conduct the CDLIS search frequently to monitor its driver’s behaviors after being hired, because some drivers will try to hide infractions – or tickets – from other states under alias names.

Under APSCREEN’s proprietary approach to implementation of this CDLIS service, prospective driver candidates are given ample opportunity to disclose information about their driving history and licensure which concentrates the focus on integrity as well as on the substance of discovered record(s). The primary reason for APSCREEN’s omission strategy is the lack of plaintiff cases involving omission-based elimination of candidacy claims.

For example, if a driver is contracted for a job in California, the employer can search the CDLIS prior to hiring and six months down the line. This gives a much-needed opportunity to determine if a driver has more than one license and a window into post-employment driving acts which could affect employer liability.

Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle. To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), an applicant must pass both skills and knowledge testing geared to these higher standards.

Additionally, CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads. Serious traffic violations committed by a CDL holder can affect their ability to maintain their CDL certification.

Most drivers obtain a CDL through their home state and it is illegal to have a license from more than one state. In addition, special endorsements may be required if you or your company drivers drive any of these vehicles: a truck with double or triple trailers, a truck with a tank, a truck carrying hazardous materials, and/or a passenger vehicle.

Employers are subject to a penalty of $10,000 if they knowingly use a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle without a valid CDL and untold liability if a driver has been found to have been negligently hired.

This is yet another tool for the employer’s toolbox to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits and make transport a safer environment for all motorists.