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The Importance of Having Driver Guidelines

“Does this driver meet our insurance carrier’s guidelines?” This common question has been brought up at one time or another by most motor carriers.  When motor carriers ask this question, they should also be asking, “Does this driver meet our guidelines?” It is becoming increasingly important for each motor carrier to have set guidelines that they follow prior to requesting approval from their insurance carriers.


Establishing Robust Driver Guidelines: A Crucial Step for Motor Carriers


Some insurance carriers do not have an established set of guidelines for who is and isn’t insurable, and will often defer to the motor carrier’s guidelines. These carriers may request a copy of the motor carrier’s guidelines, usually during the quoting process. This is a way for the insurance carrier to monitor and know that the motor carrier is responsibly managing their hiring process.


Motor carrier guidelines help paint a picture for the insurance carrier as to the type of driver the motor carrier is seeking to hire. It also allows the insurance carrier to see how strictly the motor carrier adheres to their policy. Almost all insurance carriers require a copy of a drivers’ motor vehicle record for quoting purposes and additions midterm to a policy and they can quickly see which drivers fall outside of the established guidelines.


This will prompt the carrier to ask about corrective actions and information on how the motor carrier continues to manage the process. Drivers can adversely impact insurance pricing if motor vehicle records fall outside of driver guidelines established by the insurance carrier.


Legal Implications and Federal Compliance: FMCSA's Role in Driver Qualifications


In addition to insurance carriers referencing a motor carrier’s guidelines, another reason to have an established set of qualifications is to make sure the motor carrier is adhering to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration qualifications.  Part 383 of the FMCSA’s regulations address commercial driver’s license standards which includes requirements and penalties.


This regulation specifically states, among other things, that “an employer must not knowingly allow, require, permit, or authorize a driver who is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.”  In part 383.51 of the regulation, the FMCSA lays out specifically what disqualifies a driver and for what period of time the driver is disqualified. These disqualifications can be found on FMCSA’s website.  


Should a driver fall outside of the FMCSA’s qualifications, and the motor carrier knowingly allowed them to drive, they could be subject to penalties or fines ranging anywhere from $2,750 to $25,000.


There are many reasons for the motor carrier to have their own established set of guidelines for drivers.  Two reasons being for the insurance carrier to reference if needed as well as adherence to federal regulations. It is a best practice followed by many motor carriers currently as it allows the motor carrier to effectively manage their hiring process.


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