Truck drivers face great scrutiny in the industry, both from the government and trucking schools and companies. Background checks are standard procedure any time you apply for a truck driving job, or any job, for that matter. Additionally, the FMCSA has spelled out certain disqualifying offenses that could prevent you from driving. Your criminal history, motor vehicle record (MVR), and employment history will all be under review. Constantly.
Without question, drivers with a troubled past will face more obstacles when trying to land a job, but with a bit more patience and effort, most should be able to find a company willing to give them a chance to break in to the industry.
Drivers with criminal records, especially felonies, and/or DUI-DWI convictions, will usually be faced with waiting a specific period of time since the conviction before companies will hire them on. Company policies vary wildly on this, but we've got you covered.
Generally, everything in your past. Criminal history, convictions, driving record, and employment histories will all be considered.
It is important that drivers include all information requested on applications. If a potential employer finds discrepancies, or things left out, whether intentional or not, they will typically reject the applicant.
Article - What Is A DAC Report And How Will It Affect Your Job Opportunities?
DAC reports will contain your employment history, license verification and driving history, DOT physical results, and criminal background checks. They could include other information at the company's request.
Most Commonly Used Transportation Background Checks
Compliance with regulatory authorities, improving the quality of hires, protecting against negligent hiring risk, protecting brand reputation and reducing turnover are the top reasons for background screening.
Wiki - DAC (Drive-A-Check) Report
A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information on their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT), criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint
Generally, no, you don't need a perfect record. But it certainly helps to get the job. Most companies will have a policy regarding tickets and driving record. They generally don't want to see any more than 2 moving violations in the last 3 years.
Article - Keep That License Clean: Your Career Depends On It
You can’t even get a job delivering pizza in your personal vehicle if your driving record isn't solid. This is how it's been for many years. Even my union representative in the 80’s told of someone who couldn't even find a job delivering pizza.
Forum - A bad driving record pre-trucking career
Regarding the severity of the tickets....more than 15 mph over the speed limit is considered reckless driving and very few companies will hire anyone with a reckless driving within the past 3 years.
FMCSA - Annual inquiry and review of driving record
Each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, make an inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record of each driver it employs, covering at least the preceding 12 months, to the appropriate agency of every State in which the driver held a commercial motor vehicle operator's license.
Mostly, trucking companies will want to see stability and a stable work history. Most will have a specific time frame in which they don't want to see gaps in employment over a certain length of time, or a large number of jobs held.
Any gaps in employment will normally have to be explained in some way or another.
I've had success with several folks who I advised to simply have a letter written form an acquaintance who is knowledgeable of where you were working during that time. They can simply state who they are, how long they've known you, and that they can verify that you were working for "such and such" a company
Forum - Prime Inc. wants a 5 year work history and I only have 3
I was homeless before I started working about 4 years ago, I spent my first year of adult life sleeping in the desert and bouncing around friends' houses paying them with an EBT food stamp card. Life is rough, I just want to have a good job and provide for my family.
Forum - Everyone thinks I'm crazy for wanting to be a truck driver
My biggest concern is that I have a patchy work history. I was a stay at home mom for 7 years before I was diagnosed cancer six years ago and was able to beat it back, but my husband left me at the beginning of that time and left me with some large bills, too.
Yes, but it will require waiting for a certain period after conviction, and/or jumping through legal hoops, depending on the nature of the offense and whether it was in a CMV.
Most companies will either have a specific policy on how far in the past the offense must be, and some will review every case on its own. A few will not hire drivers with DUI/DWI at all.
Forum - Starting A Career In Trucking With DUI - My Story
About 2 years removed from my DUI , I decided to seriously pursue trucking as a career. I had just gotten married. My wife was on board with the decision. Trucking's been a dream of mine since a boy.
Forum - Old DUI's Am I S.O.L for becoming a truck driver?
So I have two dui's my first was as a 17 year old minor in 1991 (so 24 years ago) and the other was in 1998 (17 years ago). Since then my driver and criminal records are clean. I also have a very stable work record.
Wiki - Trucking Company Policies For Drivers With DUI-DWI
If possible, it is recommended that new drivers with DUI's or DWI's on their record look to company-sponsored CDL training, or, at the very least, get as many pre-hire letters as they can.
FMCSA - Disqualification and reinstatement of drivers
Table 1 to § 383.51 contains a list of the offenses and periods for which a person who is required to have a CLP or CDL is disqualified, depending upon the type of vehicle the driver is operating.
Generally, the same rules can be applied to getting hire as an ex-felon as you would find as a driver trying to get hired with a DUI. Companies will normally require a wait period, and/or examine each case.
Wiki - Trucking Companies That Hire Drivers With Felonies
Nearly every trucking company will have different policies regarding the hiring of felons. Some will not hire felons at all, while some will require a specific amount of time to have passed since the felony occurred.
Forum - I am a convicted felon, can I become a truck driver?
Some will hire you. However, it also depends on what the felonies were for. Certain offenses could cause you to be banned from holding a CDL for life, or at least getting a HAZMAT endorsement.
Forum - Being a Felon & Getting a truck driving job
I'm having no luck what so ever finding a driving job after just getting out of prison. Seems like all the companies that do hire felons require your felonies to be at least 3 years old.
Every company will have different policies, and states have various laws, but generally, unless your credit history includes financial crimes, etc., the companies accept that drivers are human and may have had financial problems that they are trying to climb out of.
If you are trying to get a loan of some sort to attend private trucking school, or cover expenses, then yes, your credit history and record would probably be a factor.
Forum - Company-sponsored CDL school and credit reports.
Most schools don't do credit checks. Only a very small amount do. So honestly I wouldn't worry about it. Just to be safe I would ask the recruiter of the company you are applying for.
Article - Financing Options For Truck Driving School
You’re unemployed, or underpaid, and you certainly can’t dish out three grand or more to attend a school. So how can you can afford to get your truck driving career started?