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Why You Should be Rechecking Drivers’ CDLIS Records
5 mins read

How often do you check the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) for new information on your drivers?  

As it turns out, you should do it more often than you think. 

The FMCSA violation data highlights the importance of rescreening drivers’ CDLIS records on a regular basis to ensure they aren’t operating with more than one CDL. For the past three years, it’s been the fourth most common acute violation – hitting carriers with fines of at least $3,000 per occurance. 

The average total fine amount per audit of a carrier found employing a driver with multiple CDLs in 2019 was $8,242. According to the FMCSA database, in January 2022, a carrier in Williston, ND was fined $4,440 for violating the code. 

What the Regulation Says

Regulation Section 383.37(b) states that “No employer may allow, require, permit or authorize a driver to operate a CMV in the United States if he or she knows or should reasonably know that” the driver has more than one CLP or CDL. 

When a driver goes to get a CDL or CPL, the state is supposed to query the CDLIS to ensure the driver doesn’t have an active commercial driver’s license or permit in another state. However, as the violation data above shows, this process doesn’t always uncover the needed information.  

And because a CDLIS screen isn’t a required part of the driver hiring process, these multiple CDL drivers are often able to get behind the wheel pretty easily – putting themselves and their employers at risk of a hefty fine if they’re stopped for either a traffic violation or roadside inspection.  

Questions About DOT Background Checks and Screening? We Can Help! 

What the CDLIS Shows

A CDLIS report includes information on the driver’s current Commercial Driver’s License number and the issuing state, as well as up to three prior CDLs held by the driver – including those held under an alias or former name. In addition to keeping drivers with multiple CDLs off the road, this information also gives you a more complete picture of your driver’s history. 

If the report shows that they held CDLs in states you weren’t made aware of, this will allow you to run a motor vehicle report (MVR) to ensure there were no serious infractions or safety issues that you’d want to consider prior to making a hiring decision. 

Related Article: Are Your MVRs FCRA Compliant  

How to Protect Yourself from Violations, Fines & Litigation

In addition to the fines, any trace of violating this code can and will be held against you in court if the driver with multiple CDLs is involved in an accident that results in a lawsuit. Even though the driver’s license may not have had a direct impact on the accident itself, attorneys are on the lookout for any hint of motor carrier negligence – especially in nuclear verdict cases.

If you haven’t heard about these multi-million dollar cases, we have a few resources available to help you get up to speed:  

White Paper: Your 6-Step Nuclear Verdict Protection Plan (Plus FREE Checklist!)  

Webinar: The Connection Between Driver File Compliance & Nuclear Verdicts  

Blog: Are Your Driver Files Putting You at Risk?  

Doing the bare minimum to comply with FMCSA requirements simply isn’t enough anymore. If you want to avoid facing hefty price tags – both from the DOT and the judge who may rule a case against you – going above and beyond to ensure your driver files contain accurate, comprehensive employee information is how you can reduce risk.

The best way to protect your business from a violation is to run a CDLIS rescreen on your drivers on a regular basis to ensure they’re operating with a single commercial driver’s license. If multiple CDLs are found, the driver must be pulled from the road until the issue is fixed.  

Partner with the Right CDLIS Check Provider

Keep in mind that because the CDLIS rescreen is a background check, it’s important to work with a DOT background screening company like Foley to help ensure that all CDLIS reports, MVRs, and other screens are run both accurately and compliantly.

To learn more about how Foley can help you set up a compliant rescreening program, please give us a call at (860) 815-0764. 

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