Driver Qualification File Service, Including Driver Safety
Driver Qualification File Service
SummaryIn the interest of safety on our highways, every company involved in interstate transportation by definition of the Federal Department of Transportation is determined to be a motor carrier subject to all federal motor carrier safety regulations (FMCSRs) found in federal code 49 CFR Parts 382-399. Any company employing commercial drivers must abide by the parts of the regulations that apply to the employer, and each employer must instruct each commercial driver regarding their responsibilities under these federal safety regulations. As a requirement under 49 CFR part 391, each employer is required to establish and maintain Driver Qualification Files on each commercial driver it employs, and to make those DQFs available to the DOT in the event of an audit or accident, or investigation by a state or federal agency.
Do the DQF Requirements Apply To Our Company?All for hire, and/or private companies engaged in interstate transportation are subject to all FMCSRs including establishing Driver Qualification Files. Even owner-operators must maintain a DQF on themselves.
DQF RequirementsEach commercial driver must have a file entitled Drivers Qualification File (DQF), which is maintained separately from personnel records. Each DQF contains all required driver safety information as mandated by Part 391. This file must contain at minimum the following information. Important changes under 391.23 became effective October 29, 2004 and are included below:
Definition of a Commercial Driver in Regards to a DQFCommercial drivers are those drivers capable of driving any vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
Why Does The DOT Require So Much Information About Drivers?In a word, safety. These rules were put into effect to protect you, me, and the general public who have the right not to be killed or injured while traveling on our highways. Unsafe, disqualified drivers cannot be allowed to operate on public highways.
How Much Time Do We Have To Establish A DQF for New Drivers?Federal statute requires that each new driver have a completed DQF within thirty days of employment.
Investigation of Driving RecordsThe employer must contact all appropriate state agencies to request the driving record for each state where the driver held a CDL or permit in the past three years.
What Is the Extent Of An Investigation Into The Driver's Employment History?The investigation must include communication with every past employer listed on the application for the preceding three years. Established DOT procedures are in place to satisfy this federal requirement in the event previous employers cannot or will not provide the required information. Employers now must notify the FMCSA of previous employer violations.
Safety Performance HistoryThis requirement began October 29, 2004. When employers hire new drivers, they must request from all previous employers in the past 3 years additional information regarding both accidents and the drug and alcohol testing history of their driver. Document the request and file the response.
What If We Fail To Implement DQFs for Our Commercial Drivers?Failure to establish and maintain Driver Qualification Files carries a civil penalty under existing regulations. Under section 521 of the federal code, any person or company who is determined to have committed an act which is in violation of the Motor Carrier Safety Act, may be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 per offense.
Can My Company Easily Comply with This Requirement?Certainly, a third party administrator knowledgeable about DQ files can be retained to cost-effectively handle this DOT requirement for your company. TPA’s have the knowledge, expertise and ability to quickly and easily help your company meet this requirement.
The Transportation Advisor, Inc.
P.O. Box 558
Palmer MA 01069
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