Transportation Industry: Six things your employee screening vendor should be doing for you

According to the American Trucking Association, in 2022 there was a shortage of nearly 78,000 truck drivers, just shy of the historical record high of more than 81,000 in 2021. The association predicts that number could grow to 160,000 by 2031 if current trends continue. The explosive growth of e-commerce, particularly through the pandemic, created a surge in the need for short-haul truckers and long-haul truckers alike. As the competition for talent has increased, with over with 1.9 million trucking carriers in the United States alone, larger corporations such as Walmart have greatly increased pay and benefits to attract much of the talent available. Yet the problem continues to grow, with nearly a 23% turnover in 2022, and the average driver age of 51.  

With those numbers in mind, you should be taking steps now to ensure you're hiring the right drivers, incentivizing them creatively, and making sure they remain happy for years to come.  One small, albeit critical piece of the puzzle can be solved by a modern, fast and efficient screening process for your candidates and drivers.  Here are 6 areas you should focus on when reviewing and updating your screening policy to adapt to modern hiring and employment standards being adopted throughout the transportation industry.

1. Free random generation & managed consortiums

When it is time to select random drug and alcohol tests, pulling names out of a hat leaves an employer open to accusations of an unfair process or imbalanced selection. A computerized random generator that can hold up scrutiny is key.

At Vault, we include our digital random selection generator free of charge. Clients provide us with their roster of eligible employees once a quarter (or consistent with the frequency of random testing pools) and Vault technology fairly and randomly selects individuals to be screened. We also help you track reasons employees were unable to complete a random test in case of future audits.

Do you have a small CDME pool of 50 of fewer regulated employees? Vault manages a variety of random consortiums based around regulating authority. Pooling your random selections in their consortiums can save employee frustration at being selected repeatedly in a very small pool.

2. Aggregate data from your Commercial Driver's License Exams (CDME) to enhance employee wellness efforts

Employers working to enhance workforce wellness typically have two forms of data available – (1) anonymized insurance claims data forcovered employees and their families, and (2) self-reported employee wellness data from surveys and other voluntary participation opportunities. This data is valuable, but more data is available that often goes uncaptured from CMDEs.

As part of Vault’s ongoing quality control efforts of CDME documentation, Vault data enters all of the relevant data points provided inthe CDME forms. This allows Vault to both correct minor and fatal flaws in CDMEs to ensure drivers get accurate DOT cards in a timely manner. Additionally, when a third-party examiner fails to follow FMCSA’s regulations, guidelines, and medical review board recommendations.  Vault’s quality review team helps protect the employer by working to educate and correct the examiner and ensure only healthy employees are eligible to renew DOT cards.

Fact: The last federal Medical Examiner’s Handbook was retired in 2015. No updated handbook has been released since.

Finally, Vault provides data in aggregate form to its CDME service clients, allowing the employer to identify wellness opportunities within the CDME population of employees. When acted on, this data can help an employer bend its cost curve in its insurance program and enhance individual wellness.

3. Scheduling of complex orders with real people

Have you ever tried to find a clinic to provide 10 or more services at one time to one prospective employee? Tuberculous screenings can be some of the hardest to find because the right TB screening depends on vaccination history of the employee and other factors. Add to that a physical, mask fit test, vaccines, titers, and a custom lab panel and things get complicated fast.

Do you find yourself alone are your desk, looking at with a confusing search result in your screening vendor’s software, full of in complete or undesirable options? Vault’s US-based Service Coordination team can easily handle your most complex screening needs, balancing travel time, clinic performance, available services, and cost to ensure the best outcome.

4. On-the-spot screening for hiring and training events

In the current market, industry employers are scrambling to hire and onboard drivers and employees before competitors snatches up the talent. But, People Operations leaders are too busy to spend all day making collection site appointments and trying to track down paperwork. When time to hire and time to fill matters, you can’t afford to lose a prospective employee to a drawn-out or frustrating screening process.

Avoiding candidate drop out can be achieved by conducting screenings at in-person hiring events or on the first day of new hire training. But, without proper planning (think appropriate bathroom facilities, chains of custody, technology, number of collection staff, employee privacy), your onsite event may turn out to be more frustrating than it's worth.

If your current screening vendor doesn’t offer the flexibility you need to minimize time to hire and time to fill, let Vault help you audit and redesign your program for today’s needs.

5. Comprehensive program review and risk management strategies

When was the last time you took a top-down look at your employee screening program? Are you ready for a random audit by your internal auditor or a federal regulator? Will your employment screening vendor stand by your side during the audit? Do you know what to do with positive results for marijuana in states where it is legal?

Vault’s clients benefit from our compliance expertise in the form of:

·        Direct access to consult experts about your day-to-day challenges

·        Regular compliance training webinars

·        Available onsite training for your team

·        Policy and procedure review

·        US-based Medical Review Officers who offer unbiased expertise and guidance

·        Mock audits

·        Litigation and audit support packages

·        Expert witness testimony

·        Client-only update emails on changing laws and regulations

6. Return to work and recovery monitoring of employees with substance use disorders

No workplace is free from substance use –it’s a fact of modern humanity. However, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index shows the substance use positivity rates resulting from employment screenings during 2021 were 31.4% higher than the modern low, achieved just ten years before.[1] According to America Addiction Centers, 22.5% of Americans admit to using drugs or alcohol during working hours.[2]

Specifically in 2021, Quest noted that following about federally regulated safety-sensitive workplaces:

After five years of steady declines in several drug categories, positivity rates based on urine drug tests for the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce increased in 2021. Of note, marijuana increased 8.9% (0.79% in 2020 to 0.86% in 2021), amphetamines increased 7.8% (0.64% in 2020 to 0.69% in 2021) and cocaine increased 5.0%(0.20% in 2020 to 0.21% in 2021).

The good news is substance use is treatable and employees who choose recovery are often some of the most loyal and committed employees to an employer who supported them at their low point. In 2020, the National Safety Council reported employers can save an average of $8500 by supporting an employee recovering from substance use disorder.[3]

Vault has decades of experience providing random drug and alcohol testing to professional clinical licensure boards around the country and can implement a random testing program and return to work program to support the members of your team who are in recovery.

Vault is currently offering a free 30-minute screening program review with our transportation compliance experts. A clearly defined program and policy ensures consistency, accuracy, and efficiency in your hiring process. Schedule today and we'll step through every aspect of your program and where you may be able to improve. There is no obligation or risk involved, and you'll receive a free report you can review with team members following the consultation.

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[1] Workforce Drug Test Positivity Climbs to Highest Level in Two Decades, Finds Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index Analysis - Mar 30, 2022

[2] The Prevalence of Substance Abuse in the Workplace (

[3] New Analysis: Employers Can Save Average of $8,500 for Supporting Each Employee in Recovery from Substance Use Disorder - National Safety Council (