DriverReach's 2019 CDL Trucking Predictions Part II: Regulations Will Take Center Stage

The new year is here and we’re helping trucking industry leaders enter 2019 with a clear understanding of the most pressing trends and predictions. In this installment of our 2019 CDL Trucking Predictions list, we’re tackling the impact of one particular regulation and federal guideline poised to play in the upcoming months: the DOT application. While this proposed change will hit in 2019, it will be just one of several proposals that could affect the recruiting and hiring process in the future.

In 2019, there will be continued efforts to further reduce regulations in the trucking industry to eliminate barriers and make it easier to increase the number of new entrants coming in. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has already stated that it would like to reduce paperwork burdens on drivers and companies by proposing to eliminate the DOT application requirement as part of the CDL driver recruiting and hiring process.

While this idea stems from the goal of reducing regulatory burdens to improve operational efficiencies, it’s not likely to achieve that goal. DOT applications, verifications of employment, and background checks are all in place to reduce safety-related risks of employing the wrong drivers. Even if the DOT application is eliminated, it’s very likely that every company will still use an application since it’s the only way to collect the necessary information to perform the required background verifications.

The trucking industry should also expect other proposed regulatory changes including a a revision of the driver qualification standards related to vision, revised CDL knowledge test requirements intended to provide some relief to drivers being trained out of their state of residence, and some proposed revisions to the hours of service rules.

In order to stay compliant and avoid risk in this changing time, there are several ways drivers can stay on top of this and other regulation fluctuations:

Build a flexible recruiting process
The easiest way to get stuck in a regulation bind is to not be able to make quick changes and updates should the need arise. As you’re prepping for 2019, do a recruiting process audit to make sure your team can quickly pivot strategy if need be. For most modern recruiters, this means having the right tools in place to quickly take changing regulations in stride without impacting new applicants and existing drivers too much.

Focus on the high-level application questions
While regulations may be changing in the eyes of federal agencies, it doesn’t mean that the standards of your organization need to change at all. Instead of getting rid of applications altogether, recruiters can streamline existing applications to focus on critical, high-level questions. Cutting down your application length can also help decrease the number of applicants that ‘go dark’ during the application process. Drivers appreciate a short, to-the-point application, and these focused questions are also easier to update if (and when) regulations end up changing.

Make verification of employment a breeze
As regulations continue to be cut back, innovative recruiters are looking for places where technology can serve as a gatekeeper to ensure compliance during the recruiting process. One oft-overlooked yet critical area to do this is the verification of employment (VOE) step of a driver application. Traditionally, it can take a carrier weeks to sort through a driver’s employment history and get everything verified. With a streamlined VOE process, recruiters can easily access a constantly-updated database of driver data to verify employment history in minutes, not weeks. This is just one example of dozens of places across the application lifecycle where technology can help streamline the process and make it easier for carriers and drivers alike.

Don’t let changing regulations take your team by surprise
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to changing regulations in 2019 and beyond is that carriers of all sizes must stay informed. Missing an update or being taken by surprise can spell disaster for a carrier in such an evolving industry. You can stay up-to-date on all CDL regulations and industry news by signing up for the DriverReach newsletter, which delivers expert trucking education and insights directly to your inbox on a regular basis. Sign up now!


Blog post authored by Dave Osiecki, President and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC.


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