Red flags that may hamper employment
It’s true; companies are looking for qualified drivers. However insurance requirements, the security environment and the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) program from the FMCSA have required carriers to tighten their hiring criteria.
Companies today will conduct a thorough and detailed check on an applicant’s driving, criminal, and employment history using the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP). Any red flag that gives reason for concern may cause that applicant to be passed over in favor of a more qualified one. Here are some red flags to consider:
- Felonies & Misdemeanors: This is a huge issue with trucking companies. A felon is not allowed into Canada. If the trucking company runs Canada they probably can’t use you. With most felonies you won’t be able to get a Hazmat endorsement on your license. A Hazmat endorsement is required by many trucking companies. Some companies do not allow a felony in a lifetime, others it has to be 7-10 years old (based on completion of sentence). No major misdemeanor convictions in 7 years or minor in 3 years (based on completion of sentence).
- Automatic Denial: Multiple felony convictions; child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, sexual conduct with a child; sexual assault; domestic violence; sales, manufacturing or transportation of controlled substances; embezzlement; theft, robbery or burglary will probably eliminate you from most transportation jobs.
- Drug & Alcohol Charges: Charges within the past five years are a bad mark on your record. Some companies require no DUI in a lifetime, others it must be 5-7 years old or if 2 convictions both need to be over 10 years old. Three or more DUI convictions may eliminate you all-together.
- Traffic Violations: Most companies have a standard of no more than two moving violations in the past year and no more than 3 in 3 years. The following violations normally will not be allowed within the past 3 to 5 years: Refusal to take a chemical test, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident, improper lane change, following too close, careless and reckless driving, speeding in excess of 15 mph, or open container.
- Disqualifying issues: Other than the normal physical requirements there are two issues that seem to reoccur in almost every class that will keep someone from getting a Class A CDL Permit. (1) The student will have an old unpaid ticket from one of the 50 states that he thinks was forgotten. (These tickets only show up when applying for a CDL) or (2) the student has an eye problem (lazy eye) that only shows up during the eye test at DMV.
- Employment Gaps: You must account for the last 10 years of employment. This includes all contact information. Any gaps in employment for over 30 days must be accounted for. This includes unemployment and self-employment.
- Health Concerns: There are many health problems that will eliminate you for driving over-the-road. These include vision problems (lazy eye, Amblyopia etc), hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin-dependent diabetes and physical handicaps.
- Physical Qualifications: A driver must qualify as per part 391.41 of the FMCSR. All trucking companies as well as our truck driving school at CCC&TI require a minimum 12 month medical card.
Keep in mind that these are “basic requirements”. Disqualifying issues are far more detailed than listed above but this should emphasize the importance of keeping a clean record if you intend to be a professional driver.