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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingDecember 06 - December 12, 2017
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I Believe in ‘Second-Chances’

Tanker Truck Rollover.JPG xx8dGjb t1200 copy a6dd7By Randall C. Resch

A commercial-type truck accident on your record is somewhat of a death knell for CDL applicants looking to find work at towing and recovery companies. There's an old saying: "When you roll over, most good companies play dead." I believe this to be a true statement for affected drivers trying to land work as a tow truck, big rig or trailer-type operator.

Recently, a tow company owner called me about an applicant who previously worked as an over-the-road trucker for a large carrier. The applicant successfully attained his CDL and had 17 months of long-haul experience. He passed his DOT physical and pre-hire drug screen and was said to be a model employee ... until the accident happened.

Two years ago in Oklahoma, his truck experienced a front-tire blowout while traveling 50 mph in moderate to heavy wind. As a result of the tire coming apart and the wind gusts, the truck jerked violently to the right and overturned onto prairie land. No other vehicles were involved and no one was injured. The driver was not cited and the highway patrol accident investigation was completed.

Because the driver lost control of his rig and overturned, he was fired from the trucking company he worked for citing gross negligence.

I don't know who decided his accident was gross negligence, but based on his accident and firing: Would you consider hiring this individual for your towing company as a tow truck operator? Although the investigating officer made notes stating the crash was due to mechanical failure, how would your insurance company view hiring him based on this single crash?

Risk and Liability

Most state insurance carriers look upon these types of accidents and incidents as a risky venture for insurance liability. Most insurance companies view risk assessment as those drivers who have a preventable accident or moving citations.

So, when a driver applies to your company whose MVR shows a single motor vehicle accident, does one single accident disqualify the driver from employment with your company?

What ultimately comes to mind is whether the driver can first be insured, and then if he or she is not prone to accidents or considered an outward risk.

In regards to the above applicant, I don't believe his single accident should justify his disqualification. It's not like this driver has a criminal background. Based on what I was told about this applicant, I would consider hiring him.

Do Your Diligence

When tow owners gamble in hiring applicants with questionable driving or background histories, they roll the dice should a future catastrophic incident occur. Why? Because the details of someone's past always will be revealed in a wrongful death injury or suit.

I believe in second chances and feel the applicant's background doesn't disqualify his potential hiring. If their MVR shows minimal activity, their hiring could be the match you've been looking for. With detailed training and supervision, he could be a great asset to your company.

The question struck me as a great topic for consideration if ever a former commercial driver were to apply for work at your company. There seems to be plenty of drivers who can't hire on as commercial haulers for various reasons other than driving or background disqualifiers. I believe in second chances. What do you think?

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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