Motor carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) must have a driver qualification file for each regularly employed driver, as specified in 49 CFR 391.51. The required records may be combined with a driver’s personnel file or may be maintained as a standalone driver file. The driver qualification file must include:
Driver's application for employment (49 CFR 391.21)
A person will not be allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she has completed and signed an application for employment.
Driving record from state agency (Inquiry) - 3 years (49 CFR 391.23(a)(1)&(b))
The driver’s driving record for the preceding three years.
Driver's road test certificate (49 CFR 391.31) or equivalent (49 CFR 391.33)
A person must not be allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle until he/she has successfully completed a road test and has been issued a certificate, or a copy of the license or certificate which the motor carrier accepted as equivalent to the driver’s road test pursuant to 49 CFR 391.33.
Inquiry to state agencies for driving record (49 CFR 391.25(c)(1))
Request driving record annually for each driver.
Annual review of driving record (49 CFR391.25 (c)(2))
The motor carrier must annually review/certify the driving records for all drivers operating a commercial vehicle to determine whether they meet the minimum requirements for safe driving and have no disqualifying offenses pursuant to 49 CFR section 391.15. A note stating the results of this review shall be included in the Driver’s Qualification File.
Annual driver's certification of violations (49 CFR 391.27)
At least once every 12 months, a motor carrier must require each driver that it employs to prepare and furnish a list of all violations of motor vehicle traffic laws and ordinances during the previous 12 months. Drivers who have provided information required by 49 CFR 383.31 need not repeat that information in this annual list of violations.
Medical examiner's certificate (49 CFR 391.43)
Motor carriers must maintain proof that the driver is medically certified as being physically qualified to operate a motor vehicle or has been granted a variance.
Other Information (49 CFR Subpart G)
The qualification file requirements are modified for employers of drivers that work for more than one carrier (multi-employer drivers), drivers furnished by other motor carriers, and several other limited exceptions. The FMCSR should be reviewed for these exceptions.
The motor carrier must maintain a copy of the driver’s qualification file for as long as the driver is employed by that motor carrier and for three years thereafter. However, certain retention exceptions are provided for within 391.51(d), which should be reviewed in detail.
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LC FEB 2019-119