Could a driving mistake you made when you were 18 affect your ability to get a job driving a CMV or bus at 24, 26 or even 28? If the FMCSA adopts a series of recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board, the answer may soon be yes.
In a January 28, 2013, letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, the NTSB requested the agency create regulations that would require all CDL holders to be subjected to a 10-year background check, as opposed to the current 3-year background check requirement.
The NTSB first made the request following a March 2011 bus crash that killed 15 people. Crash investigation revealed the bus driver had been driving 64 in a 50 mph zone.
In a report following the crash, the NTSB said that the current three-year background checks, “are insufficient to make an informed hiring decision and result in the motor carrier not having access to sufficient safety-related information prior to hiring drivers.”
The push for 10-year background checks intensified following a December 11, 2012, report regarding a June 2011 crash between a truck and a train that killed 4 passengers, the Amtrak conductor and the truck driver.
“As a result of this investigation, the NTSB issued a total of 19 new recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Towing and Recovery Association of America Inc., the American Bus Association, United Motorcoach Association, and John Davis Trucking Company, Inc.”
Recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
Create a mechanism to gather and record commercial driving-related employment history information about all drivers who have a commercial driver’s license, and make this information available to all prospective motor carrier employers.
Using the mechanism developed in Safety Recommendation H-12-54, require motor carriers to conduct and document investigations into the employment records of prospective drivers for the 10 years that precede the application date.
Require motor carriers to retrieve records from the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) and the National Driver Register (NDR) for all driver applicants so that they can obtain a complete driving and license history of prospective drivers.
Inform commercial vehicle inspectors of (1) the importance of taking pushrod stroke measurements within the specified pressure range, (2) the relationship between pushrod stroke and specific air pressure, and (3) the consequence of taking measurements outside of this range.
In addition to the 10-year background checks, the NTSB also petitioned the FMCSA to address the following issues: