In order to avoid claims for negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision, and negligent entrustment, Minnesota motor carriers should take proactive steps to ensure the hiring and retention of qualified drivers. This starts with using a job application compliant with U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”).
Requirements for Commercial Driver Applications
Under federal law, a person cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he or she has provided the motor carrier with an application for employment containing the following:
- Name and address of the employing motor carrier;
- Applicant’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number;
- Addresses at which the applicant has resided at for the past three (3) years;
- Date on which the application was submitted;
- Issuing State, number and expiration date of each unexpired commercial motor vehicle operator’s license or permit that has been issued to the applicant;
- Nature and extent of the applicant’s experience in the operation of motor vehicles, including the type of equipment which he/she has operated;
- A list of all motor vehicle accidents during the preceding three (3) years specifying the date and nature of each accident and any fatalities or personal injuries caused;
- A list of all violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances (other than violations involving only parking) of which the applicant was convicted or forfeited bond or collateral during the previous three (3) years;
- A statement setting forth in detail the facts and circumstances of any denial of revocation or suspension of any license, permit or privilege to operate a motor vehicle or a statement that none has occurred;
- A list of names and addresses of the applicant’s employers in the preceding three (3) years together with employment dates and the reason for leaving each employment;
- If an applicant is applying to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined by 49 C.FR. § 383.5, the applicant must also include a list of all employers during the seven (7) years preceding the three (3) years contained in the previous requirement, of which the applicant was an operator of a commercial motor vehicle, together with dates and the reason for leaving; and
- There must be a certification and signature line at the end of the application form and it must be signed and dated by the applicant. The certification must state, “This certifies that this application was completed by me, and that all entries on it and information on it are true and complete to the best of my knowledge.”
49 C.F.R. § 391.21(b).
Required Notices to Applicants
Prior to the submission of an application, the motor carrier is required to inform the applicant that information the applicant provides regarding previous employment “may be used, and the applicant’s previous employers will be contacted, for the purpose of investigating the applicant’s safety performance and history . . . .” 49 C.F.R. § 391.21(d).
In addition, motor carriers are required to provide applicants written notice of their due process rights with respect to the applicant’s employment history. 49 C.F.R. § 391.21(d). The written notice must contain the following information:
- The applicant has the right to review information that the previous employers provided to the prospective employer;
- The applicant has the right to have errors in the information corrected by the previous employer;
- The applicant has a right to have the previous employer re-send corrected information to the prospective employer; and
- The applicant has a right to have a rebuttal statement attached to any alleged inaccurate information if the previous employer and driver do not agree on the accuracy of the information provided.
49 C.F.R. § 391.23(i).
Motor carriers run the risk of liability when hiring unqualified drivers. As a starting point, all companies that hire commercial drivers must develop a job application compliant with DOT regulations. If your company needs help developing a DOT commercial driver application, contact one of the transportation law attorneys of Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
Minnesota transportation lawyer Bryan R. Battina advises clients, drafts contracts, and litigates disputes in the transportation industry for motor carriers and household goods moving companies. Bryan may be reached at 612.455.0505 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minnesota transportation law firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
49 C.F.R. § 391.21(11) (“For those drivers applying to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined by part 383 of this subchapter, a list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s employers during the 7-year period preceding the 3 years contained in paragraph (b)(1) of this section . . . together with the dates of employment and the reasons for leaving such employment.”); see also 49 C.F.R. § 383.5 (“Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle—(1) Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of . . . (26,001 pounds or more) . . . .”); see also 49 C.F.R. § 383.35 (“The . . . employment history information for the 10 years preceding the date the application is submitted shall be presented to the prospective employer by the applicant . . . .”).