Driver's Qualifications

Improving Your Company's Compliance With DOT/FMCSA.

Driver's Qualifications | Services | Steve Talkington Consulting

Driver Qualification Files

Driver qualification and driver qualifications files are very important to the overall compliance of a company. The regulations that deal with driver qualification are found in 49 CFR Part 391. Part 391 lays out what qualifies a driver to be able to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or better yet what will get a driver disqualified from driving a CMV. There is a long list of disqualifiers and are found in Part 391.15 and in your state’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) law. Part 391 lays out what must be kept in a file for every driver. Every form of document in the driver qualification file is as important as the next and all of the following are required to be in the driver’s file.

Driver Application

The application must be one that includes all of the required elements by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA). There are certain elements that cannot be left out, but you can always add to your application. Your stock job application will not work, and many people think they are in compliance since they have an application for their drivers, but are out of compliance unless all of the items in Part 391.21 are included. Every driver must have a driver qualification file even a one-man company, an owner operator, or private carrier that drives his own vehicle as a CMV.

Three Year Driving Record

A three-year driving record from the state in which the driver is licensed. Within the first 30 days of a driver’s employment you, the motor carrier must obtain the driver 3-year driving history from the drivers home state. This record stays with the driver qualification file forever.

Driver’s Road Test or Road Test Equivalent

A copy of the driver’s road test or road test equivalent. A road test equivalent is a copy of a driver CDL. The state of issue has road tested the driver already, but it is a good idea to do your own driving test to insure the driver can operate your equipment. AN EXCEPTION to this rule is if the driver is licensed to drive a tank vehicle, a double /triple trailer or a vehicle carrying hazardous material. Those three types of drivers must also complete a driver’s road test for their employment and a certificate and test results must be kept in the driver qualification file.

Driver’s Medical Card

A driver must be physically qualified. An interstate driver and many intrastate drivers must be physically qualified by a medical professional and at the moment proof of that medical qualification must be kept in the driver’s qualification file in the form of a medical card or certification. The medical professional that preforms the driver’s physical must be verified in the FMCSA National Register of medical professionals.

Drivers Investigative File

Drivers investigative history file. The driver’s investigative history file must be maintained after certain documents are obtained. You the motor carrier must have a signed release from the driver authorizing you to seek information about a driver's alcohol and controlled substances , crashes the driver has been involved in, what the driver drove for the former employer and when the driver was employed by the previous employer. Contained in the investigative history file will be an inquiry sent to each of the prospective driver’s former employers that employed the applicant as a CMV driver. There are time limits to obtain the driver’s history.

Annual Review of Driving Record

Annual review of driving record. The driver must certify in writing if he was convicted of any traffic violation within the proceeding 12 months on an annual basis. You the motor carrier must run the drivers driving record to insure the driver has no disqualifying offenses and then certify the driver to be qualified.

Certificates need to be kept in a driver file. Any certificates obtained or required by a driver need to be kept with the driver qualification file. For example new entry level driver training and any hazmat training they may have.

Driver Training Certificates

If applicable, a Driver’s New Entry Level Driving Certificate, and any Haz-Mat training certificates need to be kept in the Driver Qualification File.