Driver Qualifications & Vehicle Files Management

We take care of your compliance needs, so you can keep your business growing

Driver Qualification Files

Fixing Trucks

If you are in business, it is always a good idea to conduct a background check on an individual before hiring. If you own a trucking business, DOT FMCSA regulations mandate that the hiring company must investigate and document certain elements of an applicant’s background.

When a trucking company hires a driver, they must create what it’s known as a “Driver Qualification File” for each driver and keep it up to date during the entire employment history of the driver. For over 20 years, Simplex Group has been in the business of trucking compliance and insurance and understands what DOT FMCSA requires for their “Driver Qualifications File.”  Simplex works with you and your drivers to ensure this requirement complies with federal regulations. Our goal is to make sure you are compliant while you concentrate on running your business.

What Driver Qualification Files Must Contain

Every driver file must contain a number of things to be compliant with the Department of Transportation regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing the laws set by the Department of Transportation. When a DOT FMCSA Compliance Audit happens, one of the areas where you will be audited is your Driver Qualification Files.  New trucking companies are typically audited within the first 12 months of initiating operations.

A Federal DOT FMCSA Compliance Safety audit can be intimidating for a new trucking company. If you don’t pass the audit, the FMCSA will likely impose hefty monetary penalties on your company or even prohibit you from operating, but you have nothing to fear when you hire Simplex. Simplex is one of the largest compliance and safety management solutions providers in the U.S, focusing on designing, implementing, and managing a safety compliance program so that our clients have more time to focus on their core business strategies and operations. Our organization is totally committed to working with you to meet and exceed your compliance and safety needs while keeping you audit-ready.

The FMCSA will look for specific paperwork in a particular order when they come to your facility.

Driving Record Inquiry to State Agencies 

Before you hire a driver, you need to run an inquiry on their driving records. You will have to run this in every state they have lived in for the last three years, and you will have to keep these records for at least three years.

Driver Certification of Violations 

When a driver has an accident or gets a citation, they must document it with your company by filling out a form that details the violation. Your trucking company needs to make sure that what the driver tells you is consistent with a review of their annual records. We will make sure all driving records are verified and up to date.

Annual Review Of Records

Once you have hired a driver, you will need to review their state driving records annually, and they must meet the requirements for safety with every review. A trucking company representative must sign off when the file is updated.

One of our trustworthy employees will take care of this for you. They will review the records of every state in which a driver holds a license. 

Suppose your driver has exhibited carelessness while driving by indulging in behavior such as driving drunk or speeding. In that case, your trucking company must reevaluate and reconsider the driver’s employment status with the company.

Employment Application

You must have a copy of a truck driver’s application on file. We will make sure it is filled out and filed away and document past employment verification attempts and results for you. When we join your team, we will consider it our personal obligation to make sure your records are complete, documented, and audit-ready.

Driver’s Road Test Certificate

A driver must pass regular road tests to work for a commercial trucking company. We will verify that an applicant has passed a commercial driver’s road test. A record of this must be on the driver’s file for at least three years.

Previous Employment Verification

A trucking company is legally required to research an applicant’s employment history and verify all previous employers within 30 days of hiring them. You must research their last three years of employment history and find out why they left their previous positions. We will make sure all previous jobs are verified for you and focus our research on the driver’s safety record.

Safety Performance History Records: Driver Correction or Rebuttal

A trucking company must ask for the safety record of any driver. If the driver has ever had to participate in a safety program or had a safety violation, it must be documented. We will research the last three years of the driver’s motor vehicle records.

Training Certificates

When you have a lot of drivers on your payroll, certifications are hard to keep track of, and keeping files organized is difficult. We will make sure every driver’s file is completely updated. We know how hard you work, and we want to ensure that every driver’s certificate is ready and updated for an auditor’s review.

Drug and Alcohol Records

The FMCSA has strict rules about alcohol and drug use. Trucking companies must ask potential drivers if they have had a positive drug test or refused testing on a drug or alcohol test within the last three years. If the potential employee has either refused or failed a drug test, they cannot perform safety-sensitive tasks until they successfully finish the return-to-duty process. You must document all details of a driver’s return-to-duty process.

The return to duty process must include a urine test, and you must keep a record of drug test results on file for three years. 

Record of Medical Examination and Health Certificate

In the United States, it is illegal to discriminate against a worker for having a medical condition or disability. The only exception to that rule is if a person is unable to do a job even if reasonable accommodations are made for them. 

There is a certain standard of physical health that a truck driver needs to have.  A driver cannot have certain nerve conditions such as epilepsy, and they cannot be on medications for anxiety. They must have a full range of motion as well. 

Commercial drivers must pass a physical exam conducted by a licensed medical examiner at least once every 24 months. They must pass this medical exam before you hire them.

The carrier will keep a copy of the medical exam on file, and you must retain a record of each medical exam for three years. A trucking company must verify that the doctor who performed the exam is registered in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

You are busy running your company, so let us partner with you to ensure that your driver’s medical exams are well documented and that an auditor has no cause for concern. 

Skills Performance Evaluation Certificate

There are some situations in which a person who cannot pass a physical exam may still be allowed to work as a truck driver. The FMCSA can give the driver a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate if they pass specific tests.

There are a few steps a driver must go through to get such a certificate. You and the driver must apply to the SPE Certificate Program at the applicable FMCSA office. 

A medical evaluation summary must be turned in along with the application. The letter must state the type of duties the driver will perform in the course of a day.  The doctor’s evaluation must break down everything a driver will do on the job and state that the applicant will be able to perform all of the required tasks with minimal difficulty. A driver must be able to move a knob and switch to operate a truck. As with all other certificates, you must keep the SPE Certificate in your files for a minimum of three years.

A SPEC can be quite hard to get; however, we know exactly how to fill out the forms and what the FMCSA looks for in an applicant. We can find a qualified doctor to perform the examination and make sure everything is submitted in a timely fashion. 

We know that your employees are like family, and we want to make sure that the owners and operators we work with are surrounded by the people they want on their team. 

Our compliance experts are dedicated to making sure your company is compliant, profitable, and in business for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DQ file?

A driver qualification file is required for each employed driver. You must keep everything in each driver file up to date. If a driver’s qualification file is not up to date, you may receive a fine.

What should be in a DQ file?

Owner-operators should know that when a trucking company is audited, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety inspector will use the driver qualification file checklist. They will look for:

  • The driver’s job application
  • A commercial driver’s license 
  • The motor vehicle records
  • A medical examiner’s certificate 
  • The driver’s drug and alcohol tests
  • Employee’s safety performance history 
  • Certification of violations.

Can DQ files be electronic?

Yes, in 2018, the FMCSA modified its rules to allow the records of commercial vehicles and truck drivers to be kept electronically. You can keep records on paper or electronically.

In addition, to driver files, you can keep electronic records on:

  • Business records.
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Bills of lading

Commercial motor vehicle drivers are carefully monitored, and so are the companies that employ them. We know compliance is critical to your success. Give us a call today, and we will ensure that you are up to date.