Automated technology is replacing antiquated paper files as growing fleets strive to stay off the government’s radar by complying with complex and ever-changing federal regulations that govern the trucking industry.
Ensuring a fleet stays compliant with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations can be a daunting job.
However, one software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, Tenstreet, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has created customizable online compliance tools designed to help carriers navigate the myriad of DOT regulations, as well as state and federal laws that pertain to the trucking industry.
One online tool helps carriers maintain their Driver Qualification Files (DQF) and alerts companies when files are missing or required documents are due.
Drivers’ digital DQF can include employment verification, signed releases, screening reports, motor vehicle records, and/or a copy of their commercial driver’s license, according to Tenstreet’s website.
When paired with the company’s forms capture tool, the DQF platform enables annual motor vehicle registration (MVR) certification forms to be captured online, validates that the forms have been completed correctly and uploads the forms into a driver’s file in Tenstreet’s Xpress system.
Phil Baxter, DOT manager of ProFrac Services, has been using Tenstreet’s compliance tools for more than three years now. ProFrac, headquartered in Willow Park, Texas, operates fracking sites in Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, according to its website. The fracking company employs over 500 drivers, according to Baxter.
“Tenstreet has been a tremendous assistance tool for our business, not only in terms of our compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), but also with DOT requirements,” Baxter told FreightWaves. “Tenstreet is not limited to just over-the-road carriers, which is important for us because we are an oilfield services company that generates revenue by fracking.”
While some companies are slow to adopt change, “there’s no better time than the present to get on board with new technology because that’s where the industry is headed,” Baxter said.
“There really is no cost or way to justify peace of mind either; to know that you’ve done everything the right way and have the appropriate releases for every employee or every applicant,” he said.
Employers may face legal consequences if they fail to comply with the FCRA that requires them to get an applicant’s signature before requesting a copy of their driving record or background report.
Tenstreet’s platform provides carriers with sample adverse action letters to send to unsuccessful job applicants as required by the FCRA, according to Shannon Wheeler, Tenstreet’s General counsel. The company also hosts monthly compliance webinars designed to keep carriers abreast of the everchanging legal landscape.
“Many of our companies hire across multiple states and some within all 50 states,” Wheeler told FreightWaves. “We build our products to ensure companies are can be compliant in every state.”
Mega-carriers like J.B. Hunt and Swift Transportation have faced class-action lawsuits over claims the carriers violated the FCRA by not disclosing to driver applicants that they could access and contest background check reports used in the companies’ hiring processes.
Tenstreet’s mobile IntelliApp helps drivers and carriers navigate the hiring process and stay DOT-compliant.
The IntelliApp automatically adapts to states where applicants live that have ban-the-box and pay equity laws.
Currently, 13 states (and the District of Columbia) have ban-the-box laws that prohibit private employers from asking applicants about their criminal history on an initial job application.
For carriers seeking drivers in a ban-the-box state, all criminal background questions are automatically removed from the carrier’s IntelliApp, Tenstreet said.
“Our system can dynamically change the application to be compliant based on the location of residency,” Wheeler said.
Questions about compensation in previous positions will be removed from a carrier’s IntelliApp for applicants living in a state that has a pay equity law, according to Tenstreet.
ProFrac has multiple integrations based on the Tenstreet platform that feed into other software programs, Baxter said.
“This has been a tremendous lifesaver when hiring gets in a crunch and you are trying to hire as fast as you can,” he said. “It makes it so efficient and we can customize the data after the person is hired.”
As the Jan. 6 deadline looms for trucking companies to register for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse administered by the FMCSA, Tenstreet can help carriers with compliance offering multiple services around the Clearinghouse including serving as a third-party administrator.
“We are building new products to comply with the regulation and are hosting webinars to help inform companies about the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse,” Wheeler said.