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Driver Qualification File Checklist

The following documents are to be included in a DQ file for duration of employment:

— Driver-specific application for employment (§391.21);

— Original Motor vehicle record (MVR) requested from states within 30 days of hire (§391.23);

— Road test or road test exception:

— Road test form and certificate conducted by your motor carrier (§391.31(g)), or

— Road test certificate conducted by another motor carrier within the past 3 years (§391.33(a)(2)), or

— Photocopy of a CDL accepted in lieu of road test – not applicable if hired to operate doubles, triples, or tankers. (Note: No subsequent copies of license renewals required.) (§391.33(a)(1));

— Background investigations (§391.23):

Drivers hired before October 30, 2004: General employment verifications sent to all former employers for the 3 years prior to the application date or a record of a good faith effort; or

Drivers hired on or after October 30, 2004: Safety Performance History data from all former DOT-regulated employers for the 3 years prior to the application date or a record of a good faith effort. This form must be maintained in accordance with §391.53 (secured, limited access) and may be in a separate Driver Investigation History File; and if applicable, any driver rebuttals to the Safety Performance History data and responses to the rebuttals from the former DOT-regulated employers.

The following documents are to be included in the DQ file for three years from date of execution:

Medical certification (§391.43(g)):

— Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, for all non-CDL drivers; or

— Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, for CDL drivers whose states have not adopted the rules linking the CDL with the medical examination; or

— Current MVR from the state showing medical qualification for CDL drivers whose states have adopted the rules linking the CDL with the medical examination.

— If applicable, any letter granting a waiver of a physical disqualification (§391.49(j));

— Annual motor vehicle record (§391.25);

— Annual review of driving record (§391.25); and

— Annual list of violations (§391.27).

The DQ file and Driver Investigation History file are retained for 3 years after a driver leaves your employment.

The following documents are also required and kept in the DQ file, but are not applicable to all drivers:

— Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver-Training Certificate (§380.401); and

— Entry-level driver training certificate (§380.509(b)).

Multiple Employer Driver

A DQ file for a driver meeting the multiple employer driver definition and employed under the rules in §391.63 must include:

— Medical certification (§391.43(g)):

— Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, for all non-CDL drivers; or

— Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, for CDL drivers whose states have not adopted the rules linking the CDL with the medical examination; or

— Current MVR from the state showing medical qualification for CDL drivers whose states have adopted the rules linking the CDL with the medical examination.

— Road test form and certificate (§391.31(g)), or a photocopy of a CDL or certificate accepted in lieu of road test (§391.33),

— Driver’s name and Social Security number, and

— Identification number, type, and issuing state of motor vehicle operator’s license. This recordkeeping is retained for duration of employment, plus 3 years after employment ceases.

Driver Borrowed From Another Motor Carrier

For drivers who meet the criteria set forth in §391.65(a)(1), a motor carrier may accept:

— A certificate, completed by both the driver and primary employing motor carrier that meets the prescribed format in §391.65(a)(2) (Note: Motor carriers must verify the certificate’s validity via phone, letter, or in person.)

FMCSR Interpretation:

§391.51 General requirements for driver qualification files.

Question 1: When a motor carrier purchases another motor carrier, must the drivers of the acquired motor carrier be requalified by the purchasing motor carrier?

Guidance: No.

Question 2: Is a driver training school required to keep a driver qualification file on each student?

Guidance: Yes, if operating in interstate commerce.

Question 3: Before December 23, 1994, motor carriers were required to maintain documentary evidence that their drivers had completed the written examination specified by 49 CFR 391.35 (Reserved) (1994). The rule removing §391.35 (Reserved) became effective on that date (59 FR 60319, November 23, 1994). Are motor carriers required to maintain such documentary evidence for drivers employed prior to December 23, 1994?

Guidance: No.

Question 4: If a motor carrier maintains complete driver qualification files but cannot produce them at the time of the review or within two business days, is it in violation of §391.51?

Guidance: Yes. Driver qualification files must be produced on demand. Producing driver qualification files after the completion of the review does not cure a record-keeping violation of §391.51.

Question 5: Must a driver/employee who was employed prior to the deletion of the section of the FMCSRs requiring certain documentary proof of written examination, and who does not have such proof in his driver qualification file, complete the exam?

Guidance: No. The requirement of former 49 CFR 391.35(h) that a driver qualification file contains certain documents substantiating the driver examination may not be the basis of a citation after November 23, 1994, the date on which all requirements pertinent to a driver’s written test were rescinded (59 FR 60319).


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