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What Is Included In A Driver Qualification File?

In the transportation industry, it is essential for motor carriers to maintain qualification files for each employed driver. These files contain important documents and inquiries that ensure drivers are qualified and meet regulatory standards. Let's break down the key aspects of driver qualification files in simpler terms.


Driver's Application for Employment

Before driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), drivers must complete an application for employment. It includes their personal information, work history, and driving experience. This helps carriers evaluate their qualifications and ensure they meet the necessary criteria. CDL drivers must list employers they have operated a truck for in the last 10 years as well as any employer they have worked for in the last 3 years.


All drivers must have an application for employment! This includes owner-operators.


Inquiry to Previous Employers for Safety Performance History

Carriers must investigate and document a driver's safety performance history from their previous employers within the last 3 years. This includes accidents, alcohol and substance violations, and general employment verification. It's important to keep a record of these inquiries and receive the information within 30 days of hiring the driver.


Inquiry to State Agencies for Driver's Motor Vehicle Record

Carriers must contact the relevant state agencies to obtain the driver's Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). This record shows their driving history, violations, and license status. It must be placed in the driver’s qualification file within 30 days of the driver’s start date. It must also be updated annually to ensure drivers meet the minimum safe driving requirements.


Driver's Road Test Certificate or Equivalent

Drivers must pass a road test to demonstrate their ability to operate a CMV safely. The carrier should keep a copy of the driver's Commercial Driver's License (CDL) or a copy of their recent road test certificate as proof of their competence. All CDL drivers with less than one year experience must provide their Entry Level Driver's Training certificate.


Medical Examiner's Certificate

Drivers must undergo a medical examination to ensure they are physically fit for the job. They must obtain a Medical Examiner's Certificate, which verifies their fitness. This certificate should be renewed every two years or as specified by a licensed medical examiner. Include record of any medical exemptions that a driver may have. Also verify and note in the file that the licensed medical examiner is listed in the national registry. Drivers must submit a copy of their certificate to their State Drivers Licensing Agency.


Inquiry about Drug and Alcohol Tests

Employers must ask potential employees about their previous drug and alcohol test results. If a candidate has tested positive or refused to test, they must complete the return-to-duty process successfully before performing safety-sensitive tasks.


Maintaining driver qualification files is vital for ensuring safety and compliance in the transportation industry. By collecting and organizing essential documents like employment applications, safety performance history, motor vehicle records, road test certificates, medical examiner's certificates, and drug and alcohol test inquiries, carriers can ensure that their drivers are qualified and meet regulatory standards. Simplifying the qualification process and utilizing tools like checklists can significantly help in achieving compliance and prioritizing road safety. Check out our FREE Driver Qualification Checklist here which is focused on updating the Driver Qualification File!


Please visit the FMCSA website to learn more about the Driver Qualification File in detail.


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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC - Copyright 2023 - does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.

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