Full compliance is required for any Motor Carrier to be in good standing with the DOT, FMCSA, CSA, Insurance, and Customers.
Driver Qualification File Checklist
49 CFR 391 explains the minimum requirements for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Motor carriers are required to maintain a qualification file for each of their drivers. The following checklist will help you ensure that each driver qualification file is complete.
Form/Inquiry/Note to Include in Drive Qualification Files (DQ)
Note: Drivers who have provided information required by 49 CFR 383.31 need not repeat information in this annual list of violations. Retain for
3 years from date of execution.
Medical Examination Report and Medical Examiner’s Certificate — 49 CFR 391.43
All commercial drivers are required to pass a physical exam conducted by a licensed medical examiner at least once every 24 months. The carrier must retain a copy of this certificate. For CDL drivers; the carrier must retain a copy of the CDLIS motor vehicle record, which contains the examination information. Retain for 3 years from date of execution.
Employer note verifying that medical examiner is listed on National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
Non-CDL drivers: 49 CFR 391.51(b)(9)(i)); CDL drivers: 49 CFR 391.51(b)(9)(ii)) A note must be included in the driver’s qualification file to verify that the medical examiner is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Retain for 3 years from date of execution
Initial DQ File Documents
Driver’s Application for Employment — 49 CFR 391.21
A driver must not drive a CMV unless an application for employment is completed and signed. Retain for Life of employment + 3 years after termination.
Driver’s Road Test Certificate or Equivalent* — 49 CFR 391.31(e)
A person must not drive a commercial motor vehicle until he/she has successfully completed a road test and has been issued a certificate.
Retain for Life of employment + 3 years after termination
Inquiry to Previous Employers: Safety Performance History Records Request — 49 CFR 391.23(a)(1)and(b)
Carriers must investigate the driver’s employment record during the preceding three years. This investigation must be completed within 30 days of the date employment begins. Carrier must retain a record of the request and all response documentation. Retain for Life of employment + 3 years after termination 2 rev. July 2017 Form/Inquiry/Note to Include Must Retain Document For Safety Performance History Records: Driver Correction or Rebuttal (if applicable) — 49 CFR 391.23(i)(2) and 49 CFR 391.23(j)(3))
Carriers must maintain a record of both the request for a driver’s safety performance history and any related documentation, for example if a driver documents that information in the history is inaccurate.
Life of employment + 3 years after termination
Inquiry To State Agencies for 3-Year Driving Record — 49 CFR 391.23(a)(1)and(b)
Carriers must contact State agencies for the driver’s MVR for the past three years. Request must be made within 30 days of hire. MVR must be kept in the driver’s personnel file, and updated annually. See “Review of Driving Record” entry above. Life of employment + 3 years after termination
Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Documents — 49 CFR 40.25(j); 49 CFR 382.301
Employers must ask potential employees if they have tested positive or refused to test, on any pre-employment drug or alcohol test within the past three years. If the potential employee admits to having a positive test or refused to test, that individual must not perform safety sensitive functions until the successful completion of the return-to-duty process.
Documentation demonstrating completion of return-to-duty process must be retained in the driver qualification file. See Controlled Substances and
Alcohol chapter for recordkeeping requirements.
Initial DQ File Documents
The following additional documents are only required for certain types of drivers, or in specific situations.
Entry-Level Driver Training Certificate — 49 CFR 380.509(b)
All CDL drivers with less than one year experience must provide this certificate. 3 years from date of execution Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver Training Certificate — 49 CFR 380.401 A driver must not operate an LCV unless the driver can produce an LCV Driver Training
Certificate or an LCV Driver Training Certificate of Grandfathering.
Life of employment + 3 years after termination Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Certificate of Grandfathering — 49 CFR 380.111 Life of
employment + 3 years after termination Multiple-Employer Drivers — 49 CFR 391.63 Life of employment + 3 years after termination
Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate — 49 CFR 391.49
Retain for 3 years from date of execution