In 1997 Professional Drivers Bureau, a Calgary-based company was launched. Since the beginning the Bureau has kept up with the times, covering all the changes and regulations, while still maintaining Canada’s only nation-wide central database with over 310,000 driver work histories on file.
When you're hiring truck drivers, your first goal is to learn as much as you can about the person sitting across the desk from you. Your second is to never forget that it's there goal to impress you, probably by telling you whatever you want to hear. At a time when drivers will work at two, three, maybe even four places in a year, you're in the hot-seat. Due diligence soaks up time, money, and effort you don't have, and-even if you're committed to rigorous screening tests corroborated by reference checks-all you really have to go by is what the driver scribbles down on his job application. Here at the bureau, 60% of the investigations we process for our members reveal the database having information (places of employment, accidents/tickets, failed drug tests) that the driver omitted on his application - We know with these hard economic times, any additional spending is hard to justify. What we want to point out is… It’s not worth trying to save the money by cutting back on safety and compliance. We do not wish to replace your Safety & Compliance or Recruiting Department. We only want to be that ‘extra’ tool your Safety/Recruiting Departments can use.
Mastering the art of reading between the lines can take years of experience, and even the wiliest guy with the six-pack gut-check can get fooled. Ask our president and founder Neil Melgaard, who's been working around trucks and truck drivers for the better part of 40+ years.
"I was managing a farm and we had three rollovers with one truck in 10 months," he explains. "And I thought my hiring instincts were pretty good. I figured there had to be a better way for me to know more about the person I was trusting with my equipment and reputation before I hired him." Turns out there wasn't. The provinces do notoriously poor job of exchanging information on driver abstracts, and insurance companies report to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which for years filed accident records by policy number. Unless you know the company the driver was working for and its policy number, you're out of luck. Besides, most big trucking companies have such high deductibles that accidents aren't reported to the insurance company unless there's an injury.
What we're trying to prevent is the driver who gets into an accident in Texas, gets fired when he returns, and then represents himself to the next guy as clean driver. "How would you know about that accident? Who is going to tell you?" The answer, is the driver's last employer. The bureau credits companies $4.50 for each termination report they file, since it reduces the administrative hassles of having to chase down missing information and these credits go towards that carriers invoice. The bureau's database relies on carriers filing a termination report immediately after a driver has left, ensuring that the information is accessible when the driver arrives at his next prospective employer. The report asks the carrier to outline the dates the driver was employed, answer a brief survey about his performance, detail any accidents, injuries, or negligent damage to equipment or cargo, and explain the driver's reason for leaving.
There have been questions about the Privacy Act. The bureau operates as an association, which gives it greater legal flexibility to exchange information among its members. It has to have hard copy with the driver's signature on it-typically the company's job application-in order to perform a search. No one outside the bureau staff ever sees an actual termination report, and the database itself is not for sale. When a driver asks to see his file, or to add a letter of explanation or refute, we comply.
Indeed, a driver who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear. "I once spent an hour talking to a guy who said he couldn't get another job because of us," Melgaard says. "This is a man who said he had no accidents when he filled out his most recent job application. When the employer called us and asked us to do a search, we showed that he in fact had five accidents, one major. I explained to this man that he didn't get hired for two reasons: one, he outright lied, and two, he's got a problem with accidents. Neither had anything to do with us."
Since our launch in 1997 the common factor has always been we are here for the Transportation Industry. Although we cannot guarantee that a driver that is investigated by the bureau will never have an accident. In the unfortunate event of a tragic accident, our 3rd party report will provide evidence that the carrier performed proper due-diligence. Our report gives you an accurate profile on a driver’s work history. It is a very important component of the driver file in the event of a DOT and/or Insurance audit. A Bureau report will help to give you complete knowledge of a driver. This puts you in control of who is representing your company.