Injuries & Fatalities Involving Non-CDL Commercial Drivers

In today’s economy there are many companies that provide transportation vehicles to their employees, or utilize an employee’s personal vehicle to provide various services to the public, such as plumbing and electrical services, passenger or public transportation services, and food delivery. Non-CDL drivers use vehicles for commercial purposes on a daily basis, sharing streets and roadways with other motorists and pedestrians.

In this article, commercial trucking expert Tim Bussard describes the responsibility that companies have to properly vet, train, supervise, and monitor their drivers as well as the vehicles they will be using to ensure safety to the public.

Injuries & Fatalities Involving Non-CDL Commercial Drivers

Many companies complete a proper initial vetting process, and training for the prospective employee, which should consist of criminal and employment background investigations, motor vehicle verifications, and pre-employment drug screening. In many cases this vetting doesn’t happen or the vetting just stops here. Below are some real life examples.

Example 1:

In 2013, a city employee within the state of New Jersey struck a pedestrian while crossing the street in a crosswalk, permanently disabling the pedestrian. After a thorough investigation into the employee’s background and work history, it was found that the employee had been involved with more than twenty (20) motor vehicle crashes in the thirty (30) years of employment with the city. The city failed to discipline, correct or provide any remedial training within his employment to prevent such events from happening.

New Jersey 2013 - Pedestrian strike by city employee
New Jersey, 2013 - Pedestrian strike by city employee

Example 2:

In 2014, a poorly maintained pizza delivery sign was improperly secured to the top of an employee’s personal car. The pizza delivery sign became detached from the car and traveled through the window of the vehicle traveling behind it, striking the driver in the head and breaking the driver’s neck. The pizza delivery company failed to provide training or care and maintenance instructions provided by the sign manufacture to the employee.

Example 3:

In 2011 a dry cleaning company hired an employee to drive a company van. At the time of employment the driver had a clean driving record. Over the next few years the employee accumulated several moving violations on his driving record, causing his license to be suspended. The company failed to review the employee’s driving record at any time other than when the employee was initially hired. Operating the company vehicle with a suspended license, the employee struck and killed a pedestrian.

Hiring & Training Practices for Non-CDL Drivers

When hiring an employee to operate a vehicle during the course of business, a company has a duty to properly vet, train, manage and oversee the employee before hiring as well as perform periodic reviews during the course of the employee’s tenure with the company.

The American National Standard – ANSI/ASSE Z15.1-2012 – Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, and other nationally recognized standards provide guidelines for companies when hiring, vetting, training, managing and overseeing employees.

In the initial hiring process of an employee, the company should begin by vetting all prospective employees’ backgrounds. This includes the prospect’s MVR history, criminal history, and prior employment history. New prospects being considered for a position that involves driving on the public roadways should also be drug and alcohol tested as a condition of employment. Employers should have a Safety Program that provides for an annual re-evaluation of the employee’s safety performance. The Safety Program should include defensive driving training for all driver employees, and remedial training for employees who receive moving citations or are involved in accidents. Finally, the Safety Program should be clear that certain safety infractions, or continued unsafe behavior, will lead to sanctions up to and including termination.

Commercial Transportation Investigations

The Commercial Transportation Experts at Robson Forensic have decades of experience in Fleet Safety and Management. All have managed, developed, and overseen safety programs for many local and nationally recognized Motor Fleet Companies.

For more information, call us at 800.813.6736 or submit an inquiry.

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