Federal regulations have long mandated that, prior to hiring a truck driver, trucking companies must check with the drivers’ employers for the past three years to see if the driver was dangerous to the motoring public. See 49 C.F.R. 391.23(a) & (a)(2) Specifically, prior employers were to be asked: 1)identification and employment verification information; 2) information about accidents defined under the FMCSR’s including the date, location, and whether injuries, fatalities or hazardous chemicals were involved; 3) information about any other accidents the prior employer maintains and, if applicable for safety functions; 4) whether the driver has complied with all alcohol and drug regulations. The industry standard is for a trucking company to go back six years. See: Strub v. Stillmunkes Salvage and Trucking, Inc., 2003 Iowa App. LEXIS 546 (Iowa Ct. App. 2003)
Unfortunately, prior to 2004, the prior employer was not obligated to provide the information. These rules changed in 2004, requiring the prior employers to respond to the requested information on drivers within thirty days. www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/391.23.htm
False reports from prior employers, stating the driver was in good standing when he left without any blemishes on the driver’s records, may now allow the falsely reporting company to be held liable for the damage these dangerous drivers cause. Only a thorough investigation by experts knowledgeable in trucking will reveal whether a prior employer has any liability for deceiving a subsequent employer.