Reducing Risk Through Proper Driver Qualification: Recap from Brandon Wiseman’s Presentation at the Drive Efficiency Event

In a riveting presentation at DriverReach’s Drive Efficiency Event, Brandon Wiseman of Truck Safe Consulting shed light on a critical topic: "Reducing Risk Through Proper Driver Qualification." With a background as a transportation attorney and safety consultant, Brandon brought a wealth of knowledge and practical insights to the audience, focusing on how proper driver qualification can mitigate risks and protect carriers from devastating consequences.

Key Takeaways:

  • The $1 Billion Lesson: A truck accident case with a $1 billion jury award underscores the severe consequences of non-compliance in driver qualification.
  • Nuclear Verdicts: A 100% plaintiff win rate in cases with problematic driver history highlights the need for rigorous driver qualification processes.
  • Follow the Rules: Adhering to essential state and federal regulations (e.g., 49 CFR Part 391 and 49 CFR Part 383) is crucial for maintaining driver qualification standards!
  • Follow the Trends: Exceeding minimum standards through continuous license monitoring, DQ software, and regular training ensures higher safety and preparedness.
  • Follow Your Gut: Trusting instincts in driver qualification decisions and considering how actions would appear in a legal context can help mitigate risks.

The $1 Billion Lesson: A Case Study

Brandon began his presentation with a sobering example: a $1 billion jury award to the family of Connor Dzion, an 18-year-old killed in a truck accident in 2019. This case highlighted the dire consequences of non-compliance. The drivers involved were either improperly licensed or grossly over their hours-of-service limits. The companies faced punitive damages due to their negligence in driver qualification and monitoring.

Understanding the Stakes: Nuclear Verdicts and Compliance

Brandon emphasized the rising trend of nuclear verdicts, where juries award massive sums in cases involving commercial driver negligence.


According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), in 100% of cases where the driver’s history was a problem, the plaintiff won. Similarly, 87.5% of cases alleging unfavorable hiring practices resulted in plaintiff victories. These statistics underline the importance of rigorous driver qualification processes.

Key Takeaways: Following the Rules, Trends, and Your Gut

Brandon distilled his advice into 3 actionable lessons for carriers:

1. Follow the Rules

Regulations are the foundation of driver qualification. Carriers must adhere to both state and federal rules, primarily found in:

  • 49 CFR Part 391: Minimum driver qualification standards
  • 49 CFR Part 383: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements
  • 49 CFR Parts 40 & 382: Drug and alcohol testing requirements

Carriers must maintain detailed Driver Qualification (DQ) files, ensuring drivers meet standards like being at least 21 years old, having a valid license, and passing medical certification.

2. Follow the Trends

Compliance is the minimum requirement. To truly reduce risk, carriers must exceed these standards! This involves:

  • Setting minimum experience requirements
  • Implementing continuous license monitoring
  • Utilizing DQ software
  • Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP)
  • Installing event recorders
  • Providing regular training

Keeping up with industry trends and best practices ensures a higher level of safety and preparedness.


3. Follow Your Gut

Brandon encouraged carriers to trust their instincts. If a practice doesn’t seem right, it likely isn’t. He advised them to consider how their actions would appear to a jury. Adhering strictly to set standards without deviation is crucial. For example, AJD Business Services could have avoided their disastrous outcome by disqualifying an improperly licensed driver.


Brandon’s presentation underscored the high stakes of driver qualification. The $1 billion Florida case serves as a stark warning of the potential consequences of non-compliance.

By following the rules, keeping up with industry trends, and trusting their instincts, motor carriers can significantly reduce their risk and protect their businesses,” said Brandon.



For more insights and resources on driver qualification and safety, explore more at Trucksafe Network, subscribe to the newsletter, and watch Trucksafe LIVE!.

About Brandon Wiseman

Brandon Wiseman is a transportation attorney, safety consultant, and founder of Trucksafe Consulting. He has represented some of the nation’s leading motor carriers on USDOT safety and compliance matters, bringing unparalleled expertise to his consulting practice.

Are you interested in utilizing DQ Software?

The DriverReach DQ File Checklist is not just a compliance tool; it's a transformational asset for your compliance and safety management strategy. By adopting this checklist, you unlock a wealth of benefits, setting yourself up for success in managing compliance for years to come. 

The DQ checklist seamlessly integrates into the DriverReach platform and is designed to capture all vital documents, communications, and driver information. This unified approach simplifies access for team members, regardless of their tenure or role, creating a reliable source of truth – a digital snapshot of your driver with a 360-degree view of their records. It allows you to build the DQ file as you hire, so you're capturing important information as you're bringing new drivers on board.

Listen to Meleny Perry, from Taurus Auto Group, break down her experience with the DQ Checklist. 

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Stay tuned for more updates and insights from DriverReach. Together, we can drive efficiency and excellence in the trucking industry.





About DriverReach

DriverReach is a cutting-edge recruiting and compliance management system designed for the transportation industry. By streamlining the recruiting process and simplifying compliance management, DriverReach helps companies quickly find qualified drivers while ensuring regulatory compliance, thereby improving operational efficiency and safety.


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