10-4 August Safety Brief
Driver Qualification Files
Hiring good drivers is one of the most critical parts of building and sustaining a safe motor carrier operation. Whether you are a large or small fleet, you are required to maintain Driver Qualification Files for anyone who will operate a commercial motor vehicle at any time. Managing these requirements is a challenging task that can lead to fines, penalties and other consequences if not done correctly. The DQ File is enforced and audited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and they take this very seriously. There are four main areas where the most violations occur:
Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Test
A negative or cancelled drug test and an alcohol test resulting in a BAC of less than .02 must be saved for 1 year. The test results include:
- Copy of alcohol test form with the result
- Copy of the drug test chain of custody
- Documents sent to the employer by the Medical Review Officer
- Documentation of any refusal to submit
- Documents of dispute submitted by the driver
- Previous employer’s test results
Invalid DOT Medical Card
Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are required to pass a DOT medical exam and receive a medical certificate that is valid for 2 years. Each updated medical certification must be placed in the DQ file and kept there for at least 3 years, showing that the driver has always been medically cleared. An FMCSA verification of the medical examiner’s National Registry Number is also required before the driver can operate a commercial vehicle.
Missing Motor Vehicle Record
When hiring a commercial driver, motor carriers must obtain an MVR for each state where the driver has held a CDL or permit in the past 3 years. The initial driving record(s) must be kept for as long as the driver is employed, plus 3 years after the driver is no longer employed with the company. The initial driving records cannot be thrown out at the 3-year mark like the annual ones.
Drivers Without DQ Files
Driver Qualification Files are required for anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle for any reason. This requirement applies to mechanics, part-time drivers, one-time drivers and company owners.
All this information can be found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Here is a link to purchase the JJ Keller Green Book copy of the safety regulations.