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Driving record as a requirement for hire?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by big green wahoo, May 15, 2008.

  1. My question: is it common for papers to turn down applicants because of their driving records?

    I was all set to fly to Bentonville, Ark., and interview for a job there and then they ran my driving record yesterday. No DUIs, no reckless drivings, no leaving the scence, etc. But you can't have more than 1 moving violation in the last 12 months and no more than two in the last three months, so the sports editor emailed back and told me I was out of the race. I had one moving violation in the last year but three in the last three years.

    I have a friend who works for this same ownership group at a nearby and bigger paper. He got a DUI last summer and has to blow into a tube in his car before the ignition will work. How can he be kept on and I can't even be hired?

    Like I said, is this sort of requirement common? Because if it is, I guess I'm out of luck for a while in this profession...
  2. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I know when I got hired here they looked at my driving record. The HR woman commented on my super-clean driving record, at the time it had been more than a decade between tickets, which was funny since I got a ticket on the way home after accepting the position.

    I've never heard of anyone's record keeping them from getting a job, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen from time to time. Can you ask your insurance company if you can take a class or something to help clean up your record?
  3. That's a good idea. Doesn't help me with this paper in particular, but could help me with the next job I fail at. Thanks.

    My buddy who got the DUI and who works at this paper in question just told me he would have been fired if he'd been a reporter. But because his job is to stay in the office and he only drives to and from the office and is not considered on assignment during those drives, he was kept on.

    Frankly, I think the requirement is too narrow. But way it goes.
  4. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    My driving record was always checked before I was hired at my last two papers.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Obviously papers can use it to vet job candidates, especially ones who will be driving as part of their jobs.

    I assume they are concerned that if some reporter with a lengthy driving record kills someone while rushing to a softball game, the paper will be sued and the lawyer will say the Podunk Press is to blame for hiring wahoo, who had a history of speeding, etc., etc.
  6. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    While driving on assignment, they're partially responsible for you. Obviously the more speeding tickets you have, the worse your chances are.

    Your record doesn't sound that bad, though. Three tickets in three years isn't anything too abnormal, I wouldn't think. Ask them if you can take a defensive driving course to help alleviate some of the violations.

    If your friend is a desker, they wouldn't check it.
  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The paper you interviewed is probably self-insured and they don't want to take the risk or they have an extremely tight insurance policy for liability and again it is a risk thing.
    I know at some places a DUI will get you canned. Same things goes for an excessive number of tickets but you have to drive as part of your job.
    I've always wondered what would happen if you just didn't get reimbursed for mileage and claimed the whole amount on your taxes, so then driving wouldn't be part of your job.
  8. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    One could understand how you could lose track of the speed, what with the Rick Astley tunes blasting through your vehicle.
  9. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    Actually, they may have company cars they ask you to use. If that's the case or if they're insuring you while you're on the job, it's the insurance company saying they can't insure you.

    The company I work for has insurance that can't cover anyone who has had more than 3 moving violations in three years, either. And they have those "how am I driving" stickers on the back of the cars. If people get several calls about their driving to that number, they end up getting fired.
  10. It wasn't a company car issue that I know of. And they say it's not points on your license, but number of incidents. So a driver improvement course, though I'm going to take one to reduce our family's insurance costs, isn't going to help me in this case.

    If anyone needs me, I'll be riding my bike to the store...
  11. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    That's my point. It's number of incidents where I am, too, and though, I don't drive a company car, when/if I make a transition to the assignment desk next month (work in TV), I'll have to have my driving record checked even though I'll never drive.

    That's what it is. It's that they are responsible for you while you're driving on their time.
  12. Ok. They're responsible for me when I'm on the clock. But in this day and age, that's really complex at times.

    Often, I work out of the house and never even go to the office during the week. I may very well head out to cover a prep game, stop en route to get my oil changed, cover the game and stop on the way back home to pick up dinner and then make an ATM deposit.

    Apparently, the company isn't responsible for desk types when they're driving to and from work at the paper. So when exactly is the company responsible for me in the above scenario?

    There is no right answer, I don't think. But unless the company self-insures, the whole issue seems overly stern to me.

    But then, of course, I'm a little biased...
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