DOT Background Check Requirements For Truck Driving Jobs
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which was established within the DOT in 2000, require that regulated employers perform a DOT background check prior to hiring a commercial driver. This DOT background check ensures that potential employees are qualified before making a hiring decision.
If you own an FMCSA regulated business and need to conduct DOT background checks, read on to find out the FMCSA background check requirements that you need to be looking for when hiring. Or if you are applying for trucking jobs, below are the FMCSA background check requirements that you will need to prepare for prior to your background check.
Who should conduct DOT background checks?
Companies follow the rules and regulations set forth by the FMCSA in order to keep commercial drivers safe as well as all other drivers on the road. By conducting a truck driver background check, companies can more effectively ensure the safety of their drivers and mitigate risks, like accidents and lawsuits.
FMCSA regulated companies may be required to conduct background checks if:
- The driver will be operating a vehicle that weighs 10,000 lbs or more
- The driver will be operating a vehicle carrying between 9-15 passengers (for compensation)
- The driver will be operating a vehicle carrying more than 15 passengers (not for compensation)
- The driver will be operating a vehicle transporting hazardous materials (as defined by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act)
What are the DOT background check requirements?
As a CDL driver, or an employer of CDL drivers, it’s important to understand the CDL background check requirements before getting started. In order to meet DOT requirements, a new hire must complete the following within 30 days of being hired.
Motor Vehicle Record Check
The first step in the DOT background check process is to obtain the driver’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) from every state where they have held a license or permit within the last 3 years. The MVR will provide the driving history of the applicant and also verify their driver’s license number. It will also detail any moving violations, driving-related felony or misdemeanor convictions, or license suspensions.
DOT Employment Verification
The second step in the DOT background check process is to complete an employment verification. This will basically verify that the information that the employee shared about their previous employment is accurate. Previous employers will also need to provide information on the employees prior driving history and as well as the previous drug and alcohol testing results.
DOT Pre-employment Drug and Alcohol Screening
A driver is required to pass a DOT-compliant drug test. While not required, drivers may also have to pass an alcohol test in some instances. In addition to passing both the drug and alcohol screenings, employers will need to query the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to obtain any previous drug and alcohol related violations.
DOT Physical Exam
The last step in the truck driver background check process is a physical. The DOT physical assesses areas such as the driver’s vision, hearing, blood pressure, and other aspects of the driver’s medical history. There are certain conditions that may disqualify a driver during the physical exam (i.e. a medical condition that would cause the driver to lose consciousness while driving), but a driver can apply for an exemption if this is the case.
What can disqualify you in a DOT background check?
In each step of the CDL background check process listed above, there are a couple things to be aware of that may disqualify an applicant from passing the background check. The most likely reason that a driver would be disqualified is because of their previous driving history. Whether they have a serious history of moving violations or were convicted of driving under the influence, it’s most often this driving history that could prove to be a problem. It’s important to note that not all offenses will disqualify an applicant permanently, so if you do have certain offenses in your driving history, you may just have to wait a certain amount of time before reapplying.
Now that you know all the steps and requirements needed for the DOT background check, you can move forward in your truck driving job search. Or if you’re just starting out your truck driving career and in need of your CDL, check out our truck driver academy today!