How the Application Impacts Driver File Creation

Lindsey Bergeron

Because the information contained in this application will be used as part of the required background screening process, drivers must also be given a Summary of Rights.

Your drivers are one of your most valuable assets. They help to keep your business not only running, but successful and thriving.

Still, it’s a common complaint that good, reliable, hard-working people can be hard to find.

So, when you do go through the process of finding and hiring a new driver – and you find someone that you’re excited to bring on board with your company – it’s important that you get the process right. Not only will this ensure that you’re able to get the relationship started on a positive note, but also that you’re hiring compliantly.

Ebook: How to Manage Compliant Driver Files 

Remember, as a business operating under the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are hiring processes you MUST have in place to comply with 49 CFR Part 391 – Qualifications of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver Instructors. There are also best practices you SHOULD follow – including running criminal background screens – to ensure you recruit and retain the best possible drivers for your business.

What is Regulation Part 391?

Regulation Part 391 helps ensure that all federally-regulated motor carriers are qualified to be on our nation’s roadways –in terms of their physical health, professional experience and motor vehicle record. These regulations apply to any carrier, no matter how many drivers they employ, that operates a vehicle involved in interstate commerce that:

  • Weighs at least 10,001 pounds
  • Carries more than 9 passengers
  • Transports materials deemed hazardous under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

Intrastate carriers that operate in a state that adheres to the federal regulations must also comply. If you are an intrastate carrier, it’s important to understand the requirements in the state where your trucks operate.

It All Starts With an Application

There are specific rules for how you collect information from candidates. To comply with DOT regulations, the application must be signed and dated by the applicant and include very specific information. Upon hire, this application kicks off the required background check process and becomes part of the Driver Qualification File.

Because the information contained in this application will be used as part of the required background screening process, drivers must also be given a Summary of Rights. This summary informs drivers that they have the right to review information provided by previous employers, as well as to dispute any findings. This could require a previous employer to resend the correct information, or, if an agreement can’t be made, allow the driver to include a rebuttal statement with the information. Drivers can submit a written request immediately upon applying or up to 30 days after being employed or denied employment. Prospective employers must provide information within 5 business days of the request.

Digital Offsite Audits Are Here. Have You Transfered Your Driver Files Yet? We Can Help!

How to Get Drivers on the Road Faster

The DOT application is a critical part of the driver file process, as it contains all of the information needed to compile the files.

To streamline the hiring process and get drivers on the road more quickly, you should have all prospective drivers fill out a full DOT-compliant application if they’re interested in a position with your company. This will ensure you have all the information required to both complete the required background checks and create the driver qualification file once you’ve made a hiring decision.

To further streamline the process, consider working with a provider that can set you up with a mobile friendly, digital application. Not only are these applications easy for drivers to fill out and submit while they’re on the road, but all of the information collected in the application will be uploaded to a secure, digital file where you can review their qualifications.

If you’re working with a provider like Foley who has the required technology,  all of that information can then be used to automatically kickstart the process of completing the driver’s required DOT background checks and compiling their driver qualification file. For Foley customers, this file is saved securely in their portal account where it can be easily downloaded for an offsite audit. We’ll also send alerts and notifications during the entirety of the driver’s employment to help you stay on top of upcoming due date (for CDL and medical card renewals, for example).

To learn more about our driver qualification file creation and maintenance service, click here or call (850) 815-0764.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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