What documents are required to be in a driver’s qualification file?

An employer is required to have a driver’s qualification (DQ) file for every driver it employs. While the DQ does not need to be a physical file, it must be a filing system that ties the information to a specific driver. Examples of DQ files are file folders, an electronic file on a database program, or a filing system which contains several physical files.

The FMCSA specifies 12 documents that must be in every driver’s DQ file. These documents include:

  1. Driver’s application for employment
  2. Initial driving record (MVR) from states obtained at the time of hire.
  3. Previous-employer information obtained on driver-applicants hired prior to October 29, 2004. (While previous-employer records prior to October 29, 2004 may remain in the DQ file, it is important to note that previous-employers records after that date must be kept “in a secure location with controlled access” and only made accessible to people directly involved in the hiring process. If an employer wants to continue to keep the previous-employer records in the DQ file, the entire file must be kept in a secure location with controlled access).
  4. Road test form and certificate, or license or certificate accepted in place of a road test.
  5. Medical exam certificate, original or copy.
  6. Documentation of any medical variance, exemption, or waiver.
  7. Verification that the medical examiner is listed in the National Registry for Exams Conduct on or after May 21, 2014.
  8. Annual driving record from the state(s) for current drivers.
  9. Notes concerning the annual review of driving record.
  10. The driver’s annual list of violations.
  11. Entry-level driver training certificate.
  12. Longer-combination vehicle training (or grandfathering) certificate.

When is a trucking company allowed to have an incomplete file?

There are four situations where an employer is not required to have a complete DQ file for a driver.

  1. A complete DQ file is not required for a currently employed driver who has been continuously employed as a driver since before January 1, 1971. The documents not required in this drivers file is the driver’s application for employment, initial driving record, previous-employer information, and road test form and certificate.
  2. Only four documents are required for a multiple-employer driver. A multiple-employer driver is a driver who, in any period of seven consecutive days, is employed or used as a driver by more than one motor carrier. The four documents required for a multiple-employer driver include:
    • Medical exam certificate (original or copy) or driving record showing medical qualifications
    • Road test form and certificate
    • Driver’s name and social security number
    • Identification number, type, and issuing the state of his or her motor vehicle license.
  1. When a motor carrier provides one of their drivers to another motor carrier, a certification from that motor carrier that the driver is fully qualified to drive a CMV in a written statement is required.
  2. Other DQ file exceptions exist for drivers of articulated farm vehicles and private motor carriers for passengers.