About those driver qualification files

By Joseph Evangelist

Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

When putting together driver qualification files, it’s all about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires fleets to keep qualification files on each driver they employ and to hold onto those records for three years after a driver leaves the fleet.

The way you maintain those files can be an advantage if you are ever singled out for a compliance audit.

Let’s review the basics of what needs to be in the file:

  1. Pre-employment screening program (PSP): a review of the driver’s safety record from FMCSA.
  2. Motor Vehicle Record: A driver’s record in their personal vehicle. Ensures driver has a valid driver’s license and if he has self-certified following a DOT physical. Since 2014 (and until June 22, 2018, when responsibility will shift to the medical personnel performing the physical), truck drivers are required to send the results of their physical to their state Department of Motor Vehicles. Fleets are required to do a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) every time a driver gets a new DOT physical even if the driver has been with the fleet for a number of years. This is to ensure that the driver has certified with their state DMV because a driver can be put out of service if he does not have a valid and certified medical card.
  3. A completed application: This must include 10 years of work history (where applicable).
  4. Results of previous employer background check: This is the result of contact with previous employers from the past three years and includes their drug and alcohol testing history and driver’s safety history including if they have been involved in any DOT reportable collisions.
  5. Results of a driver’s road test given during the interview: You do this to make sure the driver is all-around capable of doing all the steps of driving the truck including operating in tight spaces and backing into a dock.
  6. Prior 7 days Hours of Service: The driver fills out a form that goes back seven days with the hours they worked. This ensures that he will have enough hours to drive when he starts with your fleet

We also keep a record of any training the driver completes including the defensive driving and safety-training program we require. If necessary, there is also training on pallet jacks and forklifts as well as for transporting hazardous materials.

Over the years we have developed a checklist of everything that should be in the driver qualification file and we update it as needed when rules change. This ensures all driver files are organized and contain the necessary paperwork in the event we are notified of a compliance review.

Having your records in order shows the compliance officer that you are serious about following FMCSA mandates and are doing everything you can to ensure you are hiring safe and qualified drivers.

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