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3 Reasons Why Paper Driver Qualification Files Aren't Cutting It Anymore
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

Your driver files must be in a digital format to meet DOT compliance requirements. Are you ready to make the switch to driver file management software?

Driver qualification file management software has made the process of creating and maintaining driver files easier since offsite DOT audits began gaining popularity in 2019.

But that doesn’t mean everyone has transitioned to an electronic DOT record-keeping platform.

For the past five years, violations related to the creation and maintenance of driver qualification files (DQFs) have accounted for a substantial 20 percent of both acute and critical violations. The current maximum fine associated with a violation under this category is $34,712! 

What are the problems with paper driver files? There are numerous issues with them in terms of both compliance and convenience, but here are a few of the most noteworthy. Paper files…

  1. May not be accepted during offsite audits
  2. Can be easily lost or destroyed
  3. Cannot be accessed from anywhere you may need them

Let’s dive into each of these drawbacks a little further.

Paper Driver Files May Not be Accepted During Offsite DOT Audits

You’ve heard this before, but we’re saying it again: you may be asked to submit all compliance paperwork in an electronic format in order to pass an official offsite compliance review. 

On top of this, you’ll have only two days to one week from the initial notification that you’re receiving an audit to submit all of your documents. That’s not a lot of time to locate, scan, and upload every single piece of paper that proves your compliance!

It’s essential to have a system in place that helps you stay compliant simply because you can be selected for an offsite audit at any time. In fact, as a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-regulated business, you’re expected to have one.

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Failing to submit your driver files in an electronic format can lead to hefty fines, out-of-service orders, and lost time and money for your company. The easy solution is working with a partner to help with the initial paper-to-digital transition and the ongoing maintenance of your driver files.

Paper Driver Files are Easy to Lose & Destroy

Imagine this not-so-pretty picture: your office, where you have filing cabinets overflowing with driver qualification files and other important paperwork, is suddenly hit by a brutal storm, burned down in a tragic fire, or flooded beyond repair. Each and every piece of paper is likely to be destroyed in the process, forcing you to start your compliance files from scratch.

Aside from the risk of them being ruined under unforeseen circumstances, paper driver files are incredibly inefficient. Keeping track of their accuracy is also extremely time-consuming; it could be someone’s sole responsibility to do just that when they could be helping your company succeed in other ways.

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Even with a dedicated manager, driver files can often be incomplete – paper can be misplaced or accidentally thrown away – and it is far too easy to make human mistakes, such as overlooking missing documents and glossing over expiration dates.

Driver file management software protects your files against theft, fire, or other disasters better than any other lock-and-key cabinet or safe out there. All documents are stored in the cloud, making them easy to access at any time, which leads to our third and final point.

Paper Files are Not Readily Available Anywhere You Need Them

Just as we mentioned above, if your driver qualification files are locked in a filing cabinet in your office, you can’t get to them at all hours of the day or night. This can severely delay the upload process when you’re called on for an audit – and every second counts during those 48 hours of preparation time.

More jobs are being transitioned to remote work as well. If you’re told to work from home, those driver files can’t always go with you, and you need to consider a better option for managing them outside of the office.

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Using driver qualification file management software allows you to access your files on any mobile device. Ultimately, going digital helps improve efficiency, enhance compliance, and ensure that files are secure and readily accessible, 24/7, no matter where you are.

Passing DOT Audits is Easier with Driver File Management Software

Converting your driver files to a digital format is the first step toward avoiding these problems with paper documents. When you work with a partner that has a well-established, reliable online platform, you can have peace of mind knowing your files are kept up-to-date and audit-ready no matter when a DOT officer comes calling.

Foley’s DOT compliance management system gives your documents one secure, easily accessible home. Once all driver files have been converted to the required digital format, we’ll continuously monitor them and alert you to important deadlines and dates – including upcoming DOT physicals, random drug tests, MVRs, and medical card renewals. You’ll always be in the know when it comes to keeping your driver files compliant.

You have enough on your plate with running your business and managing your fleet, so why not make managing your driver qualification files easier for yourself? Use your valuable time and energy elsewhere while feeling confident about your company’s FMCSA compliance.

If you’re still not convinced to switch to driver file management software, let us show you how it can save you time, your bottom line, and your chances of passing a compliance review. 

Get a free demo of the Foley platform today with no strings attached and see how easy it could be to manage your driver qualification files! Fill out the form below to get started.

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