Skip to content
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.
nav-feature_csa-monitor

Check Out Our Latest Product Release

CSA Monitor tracks your driver and risk data in real time.

Learn More
nav-feature_dash

Reach Your Business Goals with Dash

Foley's customizable platform for your unique initiatives.

Learn More
nav-feature_resources

New Resources Waiting for You & Your Team

Expert, always-free resources at your fingertips.

Learn More
Top 5 Driver File Violations (and How to Avoid Them)
Foley
7 mins read

As a motor carrier, you must maintain specific files on all your drivers—it is required by federal law.

Still, many carriers continue to rack up violations and hefty fines because their driver qualification files aren’t complete or up-to-date. In fact, a large number of violations result because companies don’t maintain fully compliant driver files—whether due to oversight, clerical error, because their drivers withhold information, or simply because they aren’t up to speed on the many Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations.

If you’re operating a fleet, safety is your priority No. 1, and maintaining complete driver files is a crucial element to this. Below are the most significant (and common) driver file infractions that you always want to avoid.

Countdown to Driver File Conversion: Are Your Files Ready?

The Top 5 Driver Qualification File Violations

#1: Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle while Disqualified

It should go without saying that drivers should not get behind the wheel—ever—if they are disqualified from doing so due to various convictions. Yet this remains a top driver file violation. This is because a motor carrier is held liable whether or not a driver notifies them of a conviction or violation (even though, per law, drivers are required to tell their employers about revocations, suspensions or withdrawals immediately upon receiving notice).

Per federal regulation, you are on the hook either way: “So long as a motor carrier knows, or should have known, about a driver’s conviction for a disqualifying offense, it is prohibited from using the driver during the disqualification period.”

Drivers are considered disqualified if their offense was committed during on-duty time and they were employed by a motor carrier engaged in commercial interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce. Offenses that automatically disqualify drivers from driving vary in duration, and are also based on their number of previous offenses. Some examples include:

  • Driving a CMV with an alcohol concentration of .04 percent or more.
  • Driving a CMV under the influence of a Schedule I identified controlled substance, amphetamine or other narcotic drug.
  • Refusing to undergo alcohol testing as required by state or jurisdictional law.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident while operating a CMV.

For all of the above: Drivers are disqualified for at least 1 year for the first offense; and at least 3 years for subsequent offenses.

Additional reasons for disqualification:

  • Texting while driving a CMV.
  • Using a hand-held device while driving a CMV.

For both of the above: Drivers are disqualified for 60 days if they have two violations within a 3-year period; or for 120 days if they have three or more violations in a 3-year period.

It's Time to Transition to Digital Driver Files

#2: Using a Physically Unqualified Driver

All DOT-regulated drivers operating a vehicle weighing at least 10,001 pounds must meet requirements to receive a medical card. This means they must have a DOT physical exam once every two years. These are conducted by certified medical examiners who perform general physical exams—looking at a driver’s eyes, heart, lungs, abdomen, and spine, for example—while also assessing their medical history and prescribed medications.

Drivers deemed medically fit for duty are then issued a DOT medical card that is valid for 2 years. However, some medical conditions may disqualify drivers from operating a CMV, or may require more frequent monitoring/exams (which examiners will specify).

#3: Not Keeping Inquiries into Driving Records in a Driver Qualification File

Upon employing a driver, all motor carriers must investigate, document, and retain that drivers’ employment safety performance history for the previous three years.

This involves contacting previous employers, and the history must include, at minimum:

  • Any accident and accident details (where possible).
  • Any alcohol or controlled substance prohibition violations.
  • General driver identification and employment verification information.

Carriers must also run Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) in all states where drivers have held CDLs or permits for the previous three years. From then on, carriers must continue to obtain updated MVRs annually and closely review them to determine that drivers have had no disqualifying offenses.

All of these inquiries into a drivers’ safety performance history must be closely documented and retained for the length of employment and for three years thereafter. Critically, they must be kept in a secure—that is, under lock and key—location.

#4: Failing to Maintain a Driver File on Each Driver

This is a basic. All carriers must compile, maintain and update a Driver Qualification File (DQF) for every driver. These must contain:

  • Driver’s application for employment.
  • Inquiries to previous employers for safety performance history.
  • Inquiries to state agencies for a driver’s MVR and carrier’s annual review of record.
  • Annual driver’s certification of violations.
  • Driver’s road test certificate or equivalent.
  • Medical examiner’s certificate.
  • Inquiry about drug and alcohol tests.

Managing driver files just got more complicated. Our automated solution can help.

#5: Not Keeping a Medical Certificate in a Driver File

As noted above, drivers must pass medical exams and be issued medical examiner’s certificates before they can legally operate a CMV. These must be kept in their DQF and updated every time they are issued new, or modified, certificates.

The Benefits of Digital

Violations can be costly, and can also impact a carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores.

The best way to ensure safety and compliance: Always keeping tabs on your files (and your drivers). Switching to a digital solution can make this a whole lot easier. With the Foley Platform, you can convert all your files to digital (if you haven’t already), then help manage upcoming deadlines such as CDL and medical card expiration dates. All your files are then kept in a secure, easy-to-access environment.

Don’t get caught off guard during annual reviews or when auditors come calling. Stay compliant by contacting Foley today!

×
Fill out this form and a member of our team will reach out shorty.

Schedule a demo to see Dash in action.
A Foley expert is ready to help your company create a streamlined hiring, screening, and onboarding process that's easier for your candidate and team, while keeping you compliant with DOT and FMCSA requirements. Fill out this form, and we'll schedule a time for a personalized online demo of Dash.

FORM IMAGE (1)
Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.