OCTOBER 31, 2019 – When was the last time you audited your driver files? According to FMCSA data, approximately 20 percent of all critical violations this year was due to errors in the driver file process.
A few of the most common problems?
Missing medical certificates and not keeping the inquiries into a driver’s employment record in their file (and not keeping it in a secure location) were some of the bigger issues…with the average fine so far this year around $5,000. However fines as high as $9,000 have been issued to carriers for a single driver file violation.
Especially if you’re still maintaining paper driver files, it’s important to periodically audit your files to ensure everything is in order. “We find errors in almost all of the paper driver files we audit at Foley,” VP of Operations Mike Every said. “The files get harder to manage the more drivers the company has…there are simply too many documents and deadlines to keep track of.”
To be fully compliant, there are 16 documents that may go into a driver file, including 6 that must be updated on an ongoing basis – as well as FCRA compliance issues that must be considered. These include the driver’s medical certificate, annual motor vehicle report and annual certificate of violations. “Companies really need an organized system to manage all of these requirements and ensure documents are kept up to date,” Mike said.
The Ease of Automation
A growing number of companies are transitioning to electronic, online systems to ensure that their driver files are always compliant. In addition to fulfilling the driver file creation requirements for each driver, many of these systems automatically track document deadlines on an ongoing basis to ensure that MVRs are run in a timely manner and medical certificates don’t expire, for example. “Moving to an online driver file management system also prepares companies for the offsite audit process, which is becoming the DOT’s go-to method of auditing a carrier’s safety compliance,” Mike said. “Because the documents are already online, they can be easily shared with the auditor as soon as they’re needed.”
At Foley, all customers receive an email notification and portal alert whenever a potential compliance issue arises. This system replaces the need for carriers to audit their driver files, and ensures that their files are 100 percent ready whenever an auditor comes calling. For more information, call (860) 815-0869 or visit https://info.foleyservices.com/drive.
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.