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The Top 5 FMCSA Driver File Violations of 2023
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

Driver qualification files can be the biggest DOT compliance weakness for trucking companies.

Many DOT-regulated companies don’t have their driver qualification files in order, and they are still relying on paper even though the deadline to switch to digital files has passed. 

We hope your company meets the current driver file requirements, but if it doesn't, you could be committing numerous violations and eventually face some hefty fines. 

Below are five of the top FMCSA driver file violations and the potential fines as of 2023. Let's see if your company is committing any of them, and how Foley can help you get back on track with our driver qualification file management software.

Top 5 Driver File Violations of 2023 (So Far)

Inquiries into driving record not kept in driver qualification file

According to the FMCSA Analysis and Information Online database, 6,958 instances of this DOT violation have been cited in 2023.

Before officially employing a driver, you must obtain a motor vehicle record (MVR) from all states where they held a commercial driver's license or permit within the past three years, and place these MVRs in the driver qualification file.

On an annual basis, you're also required to obtain an updated MVR check on each of your drivers who operate your company's commercial vehicles. The annual MVR check, along with a note indicating who performed the review and when, must be placed in the driver file.

Failing to have a complete, DOT-compliant employment application on file for each driver

Every step in the application process needs to be completed and recorded in your driver files, and the application itself needs to meet the DOT regulation standards. The FMCSA has cited 5,811 violations of this requirement this year. Violating this regulation could result in paying a fine of $1,388 daily, up to $13,885 in total. 

Foley’s CDL driver employment application is DOT compliant, and when bundled with our driver qualification file management software, it will be stored securely in each of your driver files for auditors to check.

And with Dash, our new hiring, screening, and onboarding software, job applicants can easily complete the process from start to finish on any mobile device, helping to avoid this violation altogether. You’ll also benefit from having all the necessary information about your prospective employees in one place.

Failing to maintain a driver qualification file on each driver

Maybe the most severe driver file violation, this DOT recordkeeping mistake has been cited 5,014 times in 2023 so far.

Any business that relies on drivers who operate commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, transports at least 8 passengers including the driver, or transports hazardous materials that require placarding, must create and maintain a driver qualification file for each of their CDL drivers.

Create Digital Driver Files with Ease

Using an unqualified driver (positive or refused drug test)

Coming in at 5,251 violations in 2023, this violation can be dangerous for not only your unqualified driver but also everyone else they share the road with.

Simply put, if a driver produces a non-negative drug test, you cannot allow them to resume their safety-sensitive duties (including driving a truck!) until they've completed the return-to-duty process.

Failing to obtain and/or review a driver’s motor vehicle report every 12 months

Not only is it required by the DOT, but running MVR checks on an annual basis is also a best practice to ensure your employees haven’t committed any moving violations within the past year. 

The FMCSA has reported 5,324 violations of this code in 2023. The current maximum penalty for this violation is $16,864!

Prevent up to 34% of driver violations now

In most states, our MVR monitoring program fulfills both the pre-employment and the annual MVR report requirements. You’ll also be able to keep an eye on your drivers’ habits on an ongoing basis (as opposed to just once per year), which can help you address any problems that may arise before they turn into violations, fines, or accidents. It’s a win-win situation in terms of their on-the-road safety as well as your DOT recordkeeping requirements. 

Avoid Violations & Fines with Driver Qualification File Management Software

The DOT won’t listen to any excuses when it comes to committing any of these driver file violations. Plus, these aren’t even all the possible violations and penalties you could be dealing with if your company isn’t following DOT compliance regulations!

Take a look at our list of the top driver file violations and fines that actual companies had to pay their hard-earned money for when they were cited for them. 

And as always, if you have questions about anything related to DOT compliance and you don’t want to face the same fate as these carriers, rely on Foley! We’ll help you make the seamless transition from paper files to digital, or even set up driver files from scratch if that’s what it takes for you to achieve complete compliance. 

Before you know it, we might even cut your driver file management time by 50% – just like we did for this happy customer. 

Fill out the form below to create or convert your driver files today.

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